2020 Resolution Breakdown: Remodel the F Word House

Remodel the F Word House is my third New Year’s Resolution, and my house needs some serious TLC.

Because woof.

Top 5 Priorities

1) Finish the dining room.

We started updating the dining room in November 2020 — and we’ve only gotten paint on the walls, curtains hung, a new table and two of four chairs.

Not a great start for five months of work…

Plus, the table I ordered looked reddish (to match the chairs I bought separately and the bookcase) online.

This is NOT reddish.

The table is perfect in every. other. way. Height, size, shape, style… but it is markedly chocolate brown.


So, I’m going to paint it, which just means I now have to figure out what design I want, what color the legs of the table should be, what type of paint to use, how to finish it… Basically, by not sending this table back (because we needed a table), I’ve given myself another five months of work.


We also need to:

  • Reframe and hang recently purchased art.
  • Remove the salvage stickers from the chairs without damaging their very perfectness. There are approximately 700 stickers per.
  • Get more art, two more chairs, maybe a bench — I like art and people gotta sit.


2) Remodel the hall bathroom.

My toddler is on-again, off-again potty training — we’re doing… not well — and the hall bathroom is set up poorly for potty training.

It’s set up poorly for anything, really.

The sink/vanity is too big for the room, which causes a perfectly normal-sized toilet to look like someone wedged it in last minute. The bathtub/shower was installed incorrectly, and there’s a wealth of unused space behind the door.

I’ve got a lot to work with… and a lot to do.

  • Remove F word massive sink/vanity, and replace with a narrow-depth sink/vanity to maximize space and door-opening abilities.
  • Demolish the sadly installed mini tiles on the floor, level out the floor (barf) and retile.
  • Paint it because we’re all very tired of Lion’s Mane Beige.
  • Hang all my buggo pictures. Yes, the bathroom will be filled with bugs. Art bugs.
  • Ignore the bathtub/shower for another year because, looking at the cost of that, woof.
Creepy crawlies will be the main theme of this bathroom. Guests, please enjoy.

3) Paint the very-small-why-haven’t-I-done-it-yet hallway. (Hint: It’s because I’m lazy.)

4) Paint the downstairs bedrooms.

One is an office/catch-all room, and the other’s my son’s room. Prairie Sage isn’t going to look good with Creamy Mushroom (the color I’ve selected for MOST of the house).

We also have a bit more work than painting in the hall bathroom, hall and downstairs bed rooms…

Some lunatic used latex paint on the oak trim, doors, cabinets, etc. Latex paint that is now peeling in full force to show off layers and layers and layers of other latex paint beneath it.

Seriously, people. Why?

We’re going to strip every last inch and layer of it and repaint — we can’t save the wood — with NON-LATEX PAINT. For the love.

This is going to take the bulk of a decade to complete.

5) Do… something? …in the living room.

  • Repaint, of course. Creamy Mushroom all the way!
  • Repair the unpainted oak trim, mantle and door (which I also need to do in the dining room, crap).
  • New curtains, for sure. My TJ Maxx cheapies don’t even match.
  • Assemble the TV stand.
  • Assemble the coffee table.
  • New couch, chair and end tables eventually. Ours are dog- and toddler-worn from many decades of animals and humans.

…but I don’t know what I want the living room to look like. Does it need a theme? No. Is it going to have one? Most definitely.

The dining room is bronze, brown and gold like autumn — thanks, in part, to this great big landscape scene.

And my baby arts.

The hall bathroom is going to be filled with pictures of bugs.

Like this guy right here.

So, my living room? Spring flora, summer yellows, winter greens… haven’t decided yet.

Beyond these top priorities, we also have a laundry list of additional work that needs to be done:

  • Rip out the carpet throughout the house, and refinish the hardwood — that Susan covered with carpet. I’m calling her Susan.
  • Retile or repair the hearth (it’s UNDER the carpet), and spruce up the brick fireplace.
  • Potentially install a functioning fireplace. Potentially wait more years because chimneys… woof.
  • Update broken or burned light fixtures. (Recall that we did not have electricity in some areas of the house for a year, so some of the fixtures are just… sad.)
  • Fix the F word storm doors. Again.
  • Replace dying appliances. Largely the oven, which burns or doesn’t cook through at 375, and the dishwasher, which my son stepped on once and now it’s… sad.
  • Pick a friggin’ paint color for the upstairs bathroom!
See me not picking a paint color…

The list goes on and on and on and… we really didn’t even talk about the kitchen.

…and we’re not going to talk about the kitchen.

Remodel the F Word House might be my New Year’s Resolution for the next 10 years.

Picky Eater: On the Road Edition

My toddler, in-laws and I recently drove to South Haven, Michigan, for family vacation. (Yes, the one without my husband.)

While the trip was amazing, and I had prepared well with copious snackage, the trial of feeding a picky eater on the road was a painful one to argue.

And he defended well.

what to pack for long drives with a toddler

We split the drive into two days, so we had lunch, dinner, breakfast and lunch to eat external to my house, grandma’s house or daycare where acceptable food is a plenty.

My husband and I stuffed him full of breakfast the morning we left. He shockingly ate all of two eggs, some of my cereal and a yogurt before leaving the house. (I promise we fed him dinner the night before. I can’t promise he ate it.)

We made it to Emporia before we had to stop for a diaper change and all-around bathroom break. He’d already eaten through two applesauce pouches and two cracker packages and was bored with two of my painstakingly prepared road trip toys.

Well, I knew it was going to be a long drive.

For lunch, we stopped at Panera. We tried to feed the toddler mac ‘n cheese — Panera mac ‘n cheese, which is delicious — and he refused it. A couple more applesauce pouches down. More crackers.

picky eater at panera
I have the pickiest eater.

I guess he did eat the bread bones (crusts) of my sandwich. He loves bread bones.

At the hotel, we ordered pizza for dinner. Really good pizza. Grandpa even got the toddler some breadsticks knowing how he likes carbohydrates and food without color or nutrients. Very little dinner was consumed. Instead, applesauce.

The hotel’s continental breakfast was impressive. Eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, Chobani yogurt and a make-your-own waffle bar.

We tried some of each, and he nibbled on half a tiny waffle before we gave up feeding him a food group other than… you guessed it.


He did eat some of a Starbucks blueberry muffin before he started playing with it. Still. It was a muffin.

We stopped at Subway for lunch, and I had given TF up at this point. I tried to feed him some actual Cheetos thinking it’d be similar enough to baby cheese poofs to pass the test. Again, no. Applesauce.

By the time we reached our VRBO, my toddler was hungry, tired and no one had the solution.

So I put him to bed, and he slept for 16 hours.

In the morning, he ate all of one egg, some sausage, most of a banana and tiny chocolate chip muffin.

I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked. He must have been famished from refusing to eat anything but applesauce for two friggin’ days, but jeez kid. Maybe it’s just road trips, but next time I’ll be prepared. Doesn’t want to eat? Neat. Here’s some applesauce.

Maybe I’ll also sneak in some prunes because the resulting constipation of the next day was horrible.

Oh, and he ate a donut. 

Today, I Cleaned

Usually, I treat cleaning like the wretched chore it is. An activity to bare because I dislike clutter, and dust makes me sneeze, and sticky things make me gag. But when my thoughts are scattered, or when I need to work through a problem, or when I’m upset, cleaning is therapy.

Today, I cleaned.

On Friday, June 7, my husband and I said goodbye to our dog Ivan.


Dysplasia settled into both of his hips at about the same time. We tried giving him joint health supplements, but he hated eating anything if it wasn’t in his food bowl. He ate around what we put in his food bowl. He stopped eating when we crumbled the supplements up in his food.

I just have picky eaters, I guess.


Last weekend, his right leg swelled twice its normal size. He stopped eating again. He stopped drinking. He didn’t have to go to the bathroom. His fur started falling out in patches and chunks. He couldn’t play. He could barely walk.

We knew it was time.

Not that knowing made it any easier.


My husband and I process grief differently. Crying, holding hands, sharing memories — those we need together. We also need to be alone to process this grief — him resting in silence or with soft music playing, and me in a cacophony of sound, moving, doing, cleaning.

It took two days to get through the grief to pick up the mess we’d made of our house — the empty pizza boxes, the glasses half-filled with water in every room, the shoes and clothes and clutter. Two days to fix the blockage in the vacuum that had previously felt so overwhelming. Two days to oil the dining room table, do the dishes, sweep the floor, start the laundry. Two days to cry and feel and clean.


He was our first deep love, our gentle lead. He reached out to us and curled up at my husband’s feet. He loved walks and fetch. He was big, and he was sweet. He pressed his face into the carpet when he slept. He carried the cat around in his mouth. He boofed at the mailman and shadows and squirrels. He loved the snow. He hated the rain. He chased his tail and happy hopped for dinner time. He destroyed every toy we ever gave him. He destroyed his bed and preferred the couch. He loved us, and we loved him.







Eleven years is not forever, but forever is how long I love you.