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Friday, May 4, 2012

Failures are learning experiences

I hadn't been posting on what things we've tried and haven't worked out but a friend suggested that I post the attempts as well, because those can be just as interesting, and certainly educational.  So, here are a couple of our big fails.

Tapping the maple trees -
We tapped two of our neighbor's trees.  Yes, they are maples.  Yes, they were tapped right (slightly angled so that the syrup runs down into the bag).  Yes, we asked permission from the neighbors.  No, we didn't tap too close together or too many taps in one tree.  Despite all those good things, we didn't get any syrup.  That's because we were about 2 weeks late.  Last year in mid March was the time to start tapping.  This year, the syrup season was already over by mid March.  Because it was so warm so early, there wasn't much a syrup season for anyone, but you'll miss the entire season if you don't get out there.  I knew we should have gotten out earlier, but we let our daily life activities get in the way.  We still wanted syrup, so we bought some from a local maple farm when we attended Maple Fest at the end of March (their season was done by that time too, but the fest was planned well before anyone would know when the season would end).  My mom, who was able to tap her trees and get some, said that she and her friend usually get 20-25 quarts each when they are done.  This year, they only got 5 quarts.  We'll try again next year.

Jaimie and our neighbor Jess 

The bathroom project -
This is a BIG fail.  We were so good as demolition.  It's the putting back together part that is the hold up.  I realize that some of this is my fault.  I believed, with Jaimie's ambition, that we could have this finished over his spring break.  Alas, it is now his week of finals over a month later and we still have no shower.  We tore out the rotted wall.  We scraped off the ugly chipped teal plastic tiles.  We hired a plumber to make sure it could get the tub hooked up, and hired an electrician to run some wires and install the fan.  Then we were left with putting up walls, painting, and putting in the tiles, toilet, and sink.

I painted the walls.  The colors were fine, thanks to my MIL.  How it looked on the very roughly sanded and chipped walls did not look so great.  We changed our minds on what we wanted for the tiles (white subway tiles measuring 3 inches by 6 inches to 12 inch by 12 inch ceramic tiles).  With Jaimie's spring break over by this time so he's busy with school, I realize that this project is not going the way we planned.  I also realize that I have some generalizations and preconceived notions about my husband that are really not fair.

It was my belief that men, as a sex, are good with tools.  I also believed that men, just by their virtue of being male, knew about construction and what it entails.  I also had this generalization about men when it came to car repair, but I am learning that it may be better to hire a professional.  Now I'm certain that we'd be able to figure it out, but the task seemed insurmountable with the every day activities taking priority.  (You can't really take off a week of school or work any time you want, and it's difficult to find the extra time with two babes in the house).  So, being overwhelmed we requested some assistance.

It took some calling around and figuring things out, but we hired someone to install the tile.  Fortunately, he was someone we trusted to be in our home while we were out of the house.  Over the course of a week, he put up the walls around the tub, put up the waterproof membrane, and put up the tiles.  He also tiled the floor (hey, if we've got a tile guy, might as well make use of his services).  He left the remaining work to be done for us, but we still weren't quite prepared to deal with it.  The walls were not connected on the sides of the tub, the tiles were too thick and/or not cut to fit the shower hardware, and the grout had cracked around the base of the tub both on the floor and around the tub (meaning it wouldn't be waterproof after sealing it, meaning that we wouldn't be able to shower).

A few more weeks pass and we haven't dealt with the bathroom still.  Yes, we do have another toilet and sink, so that's helpful.  We were thinking of finishing it off ourselves but still seemed too busy, especially now that planting season came early.  We realized that, if we don't get someone to do it, it's just not going to get done.  Jaimie decided that he is not confident in finishing up the project so we will be having someone do it for us. 

I am getting used to washing my hair in a tub.  It's not the easiest with bum-length hair but it's also not convenient to shower elsewhere, and I only wash my hair about twice a week anyway.  The girls think that it's fun to bathe in the kitchen sink (I don't want them splashing and getting the grout wet so only Jaimie and I are allowed to bathe in the tub).  I am looking forward to eventually having a shower in my own home again.

So there you have it.  We made many more fails than just these two, but these are the more interesting ones.  Even with these fails, I still get to relax tonight in a nice warm bath.


  1. If your tile is in, and you are using the bathroom at all, you should pick up some sealant and seal the grout. It will protect the grout and preserve its color. I have a can here if you need brand/etc info!

  2. We did seal it, so at least that's one thing we did right!