As noted in previous entry, the fan in the laundry room gave up its tiny little ghost a couple of weeks back, and air quality in the vicinity plummeted sharply as this is where we keep the (duhn duhn DUHN) litterbox. And while litterboxes in general are unpleasant, Mr. Stinky Cat Butt made it even more so. It smelled like an open cesspool in Mississipi in July, no matter how often I cleaned it.
So the other day we go to Home Improvement Megalomart in a vain search for new flooring (more on that shortly) and while we are there fruitlessly attempting to attract the attention of the single, lone, overwhelmed Foor Coverings Specialist (tm), we pick up a new fan. We engaged in the usual debate over cost/noise/cosmetics, and opted for the El Cheapo thirteen dollars-plus-tax fan because it was similar to the one already installed. Sure, you can pay a hundred bucks for a fan, but we didn't need one with a light and chances were good that the one we were replacing was the cheap one, and it served us just fine for nearly two years of constant use. And twelve years before us of occasional use.
This turned out to be The. Best. Decision. Ever. Because, when we got home and J went in there all prepared to do battle with wiring and so forth, it turned out that the fan lives in a little housing, and just plugs in to an outlet -- a standard, ordinary, two-pronged outlet like the ones all over your house -- that is part of the housing. This means that if you buy the same type of fan, you can just take the actual fan part out of the new housing, swap it out with the old burned-out fan, and plug it in! Two minutes! If that! And immediately the fan will begin to suck nasty poisonous cat poop air out of your house! Yay!!!
In other home-improvement-related news, we are finally replacing the kitchen floor. Good golly, our kitchen is black and white. Dark grey-almost-black countertops, white cabinetry, black-and-white patterned linoleum. The previous owner Emmy (who had the house built) chose this purposely, pointing out to us that we could swap out the accessories such as towels and knick-knacks for "a whole new look." I felt that this new look was best described as "the same black and white kitchen with differently colored towels and knick-knacks" but I liked Emmy and wisely kept my mouth shut. I did swap out the black porcelain knobs for brushed-nickel ones though. I just couldn't take those big ugly knobs. I sold 'em on craigslist for ten bucks. :)
At any rate, once when Emmy was out of town for an extended period the refrigerator icemaker leaked all over the floor and the water stood there for weeks or something, so the subflooring was ruined and starting to deform and basically rot. We were advised of this before purchasing the house and knew this day would come, and my discovery recently that the fridge is now sinking inexorably into the crawl space made it apparent that This Day Is Now. So, tax refund in hand, we schlepped off to the flooring store and chose some vinyl. (We saw other Home Improvement Megalomart customers there too, who had wandered in after having the same type of experience we did, presumably). We were pleased to find some we liked that was clearanced -- cheap! -- and there was enough available to do the entire family room too, but when we talked to the installer it turned out that the family room would need to be built up with particle board to be the same height as the kitchen, yadda yadda yadda, maybe we should consider laminate wood flooring for that room, blah blah blah, and before we knew it the estimate had doubled.
Okay, so after thinking about it, and considering looming nursing school tuition and daycare and so forth, we just couldn't do it. We ultimately decided to scale it back, replace just the kitchen vinyl, and squeeze a few more years out of the crappy pearly-grey, easily-stained existing carpet. With cleaning it isn't so bad, like if we were having a party or something; it's just that within a week the family room looks like we hold monster-truck mud bog rallies in it. But I think I'm going to request that we use a little of the money we aren't spending on the major floor remodel to get the carpet professionally cleaned.
Oh, and in case you ever consider using Home Improvement Megalomart type stores for your big projects, like they show in the commercials where they have their contractors come out and build your fence or whatever? Yeah, when we had to get siding on the house we got an estimate from them just for laughs. It was fifteen thousand dollars. That's about twice what we actually paid Kenny, our sidingwallah, and he was nice enough to knock off for lunch right about the time the baby napped, and made funny faces at her through the windows. She thought he was the greatest guy in the world. I don't think you're gonna get that from the big box stores.
One final home improvement note: J's brother is going to build gates for us, and do a variety of other work, including every little stupid thing you can think of like hang miniblinds and put gutters on the porch roof and help paint the family room and you name it, in exchange for a new computer. I am so stoked. Gates! No more plywood held up by a wheelbarrow! Gutters! Miniblinds! And I won't have to do any of it! Hurray!