Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lez check our bathroom renovation budget and statistics

A quick checkin by CoolJ, CFO of Lez Renovate on our bathroom renovation budget and expenses to date.

My planned fantasy budget:  $1500
Total expenses to date (excluding treats/beer):  $1274.82

My estimation of required labour for entire project: 30 lesbian days 
(no you smart arse, they are the same length as a regular day, they just include more cuddling and sharing. And there are 2 of us, so 15 days x 2 lesbians working etc)

Revenue: $100 (thanks family for the gift cards!)
2 scratch lottery tickets that each won another chance to play
Who's that little friend peeking up at me?
5 chances to win on the lumberyard customer survey

# of days since project kickoff: 6
Total # of lesbian-hours spent to date by LL/CoolJ (excluding trips to the lumberyard & for treats. Includes time spent arguing while not driving to or from lumberyard):  48 hours (approx)

# of hours of professional tradesperson's expert work: 6
# of dyke-days late for or missing work: 5
# of times peeing somewhere somewhat inappropriate because it was more convenient: 2 (coolj only)
# of showers at public facilities:  5
# of trips to lumberyard or equivalent:  5
# of days with no workable shower in our suite: 6
# of days with no workable toilet in our suite: 6
Estimated date of toilet installation:  June 27 (10 days after project kickoff)

Time spent with LL lez renovating = priceless

All in all, I think things are going well, as you can see
What do you think? We'll post more pics & videos shortly. I forget when LL said she would post the next video.

I have to take a moment to give props to for the cool web-based financial tracking that can track all our bank & credit card transactions. I've been afflicted lately with symptoms of the Visa Flu, which includes chills and anxiety about mounting renovation costs. As I'm a software usability/interaction designer by day,  I have to say that Mint (made by the kind people at Intuit who make my income tax filing so simple) is very helpful in figuring out just where all that money is going. I can even take the financial report on the road (to the plumbing supply shop) to track expenditures as the money is spent goes down the drain.

Any other good renovation budget tracking tips? Have any of you handy women adapted your Wedding Planning Spreadsheets to track DIY renovation?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bathroom Renovation - Guts and Glory

We forgot what it was like to deal with a substantial renovation. The last time we dived, head first, into a something like this it was Basement Suite 2.0 and we had no idea what we were getting into. We had possession of the house for one day before we started tearing it apart. We knew that we were going to come up against some hardships and mistakes. We even knew that we would find some unlikely things behind the walls. Like a bear claw. It's true, I found one. But we didn't know how angry or frustrated we would get trying to make things work or finding out that they didn't. Blurg.

I forgot about the anger. I forgot about the frustration. I forgot that this house is 80 years old and most likely has layers upon layers of linoleum, plywood and drywall covering up the 60s, 70s and 80s. So of course it took us 3 days to demo the bathroom because it had 3 generational layers! Blurg.

I can't believe how much crap came out of that bathroom. And its still coming. The plumber is in there now shaking his head and saying stuff like "they don't make these anymore." I know that! Gotta replace it. Ok. What does that mean for us? More work. Blurg.

I also forgot what it felt like to have drywall wall dust everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE! Why we didn't learn to put a plastic sheet over the bathroom door while we were demolishing I will never know. But, we cleaned it up, hired someone to take the crap away and went to Cool J's work to have a shower. Ahhhh employee benefits.

I keep standing in the middle of the empty room looking around and saying to myself, "why did we do this?". Oh yeah, so we wouldn't have to look at the duct tape holding the shower together anymore. Right! Oh, and because not having a fan was simply not an option anymore. Right! So the plumber is here, doing the best he can with what he's got. And we are going to do our best to make this a quick and painless renovation. Famous last words.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

If you show me yours, I'll show you mine.

So we ended last season with the promise to demolish our bathroom and finally make our dream a reality. I am looking forward to having a bathroom with a fan and a shower that doesn't leak. Cool J is probably looking forward to making her vision a reality. This time we are dealing with style people. Not just your run-of-the-mill home renovation, but the kinda stuff that gets shown on HGTV! That's the hope anyways.

And I can tell you that I am totally looking forward to demolishing! That is the fun part. And its to the studs demolishing, unlike the basement suite. We had to be careful where we were throwing the sledge hammer! Remember these fun times:

We have done a couple demolitions yet we are not immune to minor bumps and scratches. There have been a couple times where filming our accidents would of been perfect for tv but instead we looked after each other since we are a very small crew of 2. A little help is all we need time to time.

Anyone want to help us demolish or lay some tile or take crap to the dump or do some painting or cut a hole in our roof or help us find cheap/free shower fixtures? We are taking applications.
So, have you renovated your bathroom? What did you do? Send us some pictures, we would love to see what you did. If you show me yours, I'll show you mine.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lez Build a Bench - Part 2 - VIDEO


Alright renovation peeps, here it is, the finale to Season 2! We decided that we wanted to finish up this season and move onto Season 3, in which we fully intend to renovate our bathroom. Finally! So many things came up last year and we could get to it. Now we are motivated and ready to take on the grossness that is our bathroom.

Of course we had to have a decent patio to lounge on though! It's summer, well, sorta. Where else are we going to enjoy beers after we rip out the bathroom, or drywall mud or have a fight about the bathtub not fitting?


Happy fun time summer good yes!

Monday, June 6, 2011

El Arrayan - Puerto Vallarta Restaurant

The weather has been beautiful lately. I think that we have been waiting too long for sun. Cool J and I were riding our bikes around without jackets! Crazy. It made me think of the vacation that we took in March. We went to Sayulita, Mexico, a little surfer town an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. The last time we went was 5 years ago and it was long overdue.

We love it there! Most of the time we just lay on the beach drinking cerveza's, waiting for vendors to peddle their goods and people watch. Awesome.

That's pretty much it. But, we decided that we would start our trip off by staying in Puerto Vallarta for a couple of days. Of course as soon as I put word out that we wanted some advice from our friends as where to go, the information flooded in. Hikes, cheap drinks, bars, hotels, you name it! So we had our 2 days pretty much planned out. Except for the restaurants. So I did what I do best when it comes to looking for stuff. Google it! Just like when we were looking for a real estate agent. I searched 'realtor, Vancouver, lesbian'. But this time it was 'restaurant, Puerto Vallarta, lesbian'.

A little restaurant called El Arrayan came up. Not only is it lesbian run and owned, it won best Mexican restaurant 5 years in a row! Sign me up. So, we went. And boy were we happy we did. The atmosphere was great, the food was great, the service was great and the renovations were great! I bet you were wondering how I would make this post about renovating weren't you? Ha.

We chatted up the owner, Carman Porras, about her restaurant and the renovations that she did. I admired the sink that they had made out of old wash bins and she was quite proud of the bar that was made out of brick.

I was quite happy to meet lesbian business owners who renovate their own businesses. They didn't just hire someone to do it, which seems to be the case most of the time. They got their hands dirty, strapped on a tool belt and went for it. I love that! No blue job/pink jobs at El Arrayan. And also, they had lesbian servers. Awesome.

So if the fact that these women renovated their own restaurant hasn't convinced you enough to go, the food will. Like I said before, they won best Mexican restaurant 5 years in a row. Check out what we ate.

And oh my, it was so delicious. Next time we go back to PV, we are going to El Arrayan. Not only to eat the fantastic food but to talk more renovations with lesbians.

Friday, June 3, 2011

UHaul, Co-op Car or Panel Van: What do lesbians bring on a second date

What do lesbians bring on a second date? The classic joke takes a turn when those lesbians are waste-conscious and try to recycle our renovation waste.

CoolJ here, staring out into the rain at a renovation garbage pile in our back lane.

In typical LezRenovate fashion, I have thought about the DIY solution to this problem so long it has become much worse. In the fall, we had some garbage left from some repairs & gutting we did, assuming we would either build a jam space or update our bathroom. I thought I would save money by getting a trailer hitch on my car and getting a utility trailer, then haul the stuff away to be recycled or landfilled.  I had hoped that there is a place to recycle carpet, toilets, lumber in Vancouver. But it is not so easy... more on that later.

Anyway. Over the last 8 months we neither recycled, nor hauled it away, nor hired anyone to haul it away, nor indeed, updated our bathroom, nor built a jam space, despite all the fun it was to rip out the old storage room under the deck

Here's what we'll look like this sunny saturday
So now we've missed Vancouver's free dumping clean up month. And lez friend whose truck brought in most of our lumber and drywall last winter took that truck and a Uhaul to Halifax (on a very looong lesbian date),  I need a Plan b to transport the smelly & unweildy junk from our backyard  to its recycled or upcycled future. And I need to make this happen in time for the fun of this weekend's Open House at the Vancouver City Landfill, which promises to be fun for the whole family.

Maybe we'll join the Modo Car Co-op and use one of their trucks to do our hauling. I've been a member  of this  co-op  before, when I lived in a shared house of five lesbians and the car co-op was the Cooperative Auto Network,  the first carshare co-op in North America. I checked & they have trucks with and without canopies, parked nearby in East Van. Let's run the numbers:
North America's first car share coop
  •  $500 refundable deposit (ironically the refund of my membership share when I left the co-op in 2008 to get my own car went toward the real estate closing costs on Georgia Cottage)
I'm not sure if the Co-op would see Lezrenovate as a business...we are certainly not yet profiting (though I would like to) but let's work it out as if we were a business or non-profit member:
  •  $6/hr on weekdays (to a max) x 2 hours for a run to the Kent Ave transfer station or North Vancouver city dump = $18 to dump this junk
  • $8/hr on weekends (to a max) = $25 to dump the junk
By comparison:
Trailer hitch install = $200 (approx)
Craigslist utility trailer = $700

The punchline:
I could make 56 trips to the dump, recycling station, or Craigslist Dunbargains using the co-op truck before the trailer option makes sense, and the trailer option does not include fuel, insurance etc. whereas co-op membership covers all of this.

So Co-op truck is looking good so far.  How does it compare to the HomoDepot Load & Go Van available in Vancouver? A friend reno/cheapo gayfriend of ours uses these vans and trucks for any large load he has to carry that his convertible won't fit - including items not purchased at HomoDepot. Hmm. Crafty.

This van is $19 per 90 minutes. So it would be $24 for a 2 hr dump run + fuel. About the same as the Co-op, only no feel-good-community-support aspect to it.

What do you think? Shall we get a LezRenovate membership in Vancouver's community auto share co-op? Get a trailer hitch on the VW & buy/build/beg/borrow a trailer? Or scoot over to score a Craigslist Dunbargain (a bargain in Vancouver's Dunbar neighbourhood) with the HomoDepot van?