Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Historic Denver

As most of you know, we bought this house in a state of 1980s nostalgia about 20 months ago. We had lots that we wanted to (and plenty we had to) renovate and Mike had amazing "vision" for the process. One of his biggest visions was for the main floor bathroom. While it's not the only bathroom in the house, it is the only one that gets used now since the shower and the rest of the bathroom are in two separate places in the basement (and they are quite gross looking, really). But the bathroom did not start out usable. So like it or not, we had to start from scratch. Seriously, we used the bathroom in the basement for the first 5 months we lived in the house!

The most important thing in the bathroom vision was that we chose "period" style items including unpolished (i.e. impossible to keep clean) black and white mosaic floor tile, a subway tile surround in the shower, bead board, and a pedestal sink. And what's incredible is that other than the air conditioner register and the tub we had refinished, every thing else was bought new, and most at big box stores but really did look period. The only two things we had to order special were the flooring and the glass block window.

We shop a lot at the Habitat for Humanity Home Improvement Outlets when we are looking for house stuff. On one of our visits, we saw a poster advertising a contest sponsored by Historic Denver that was looking for historic homes renovated to keep the historic feel. Our cute little bungalow was built in 1925... and we had been doing a lot of renovations... so I picked up a flyer knowing that really, only our bathroom qualified, but hey, it was worth a shot, right? When we entered the contest in May, we had to choose only 5 photos of the entire renovation. I have gazillions of pictures of this house renovation and paring down the choice to only 5 to include before, during, and after? No way! But I did my best. I wish I could remember exactly which 5 I chose to send in, but here's an example of what I may have sent in (this is even 3 more than the judging panel got and I still feel like I haven't given a good enough idea of what went in to this makeover):

We had a great time doing all of our house projects, but it would be very exciting to be recognized for our efforts as well. In doing the bathroom in particular, I learned to wear gloves when using black grout lest your patients and their families think you don't wash your hands before work, how to use a nail gun, how to use a jigsaw, and that sometimes your first paint color doesn't work out; Mike learned how to use a gas powered saw to cut through brick to re-open a window that had been bricked over sometime in the past 75 years, how to lay subway tile, piece by piece, and when to stop and let someone else doing the grouting around the tub.

I hear that the judges have made a decision, so hopefully I will have some official news to pass on in the next few weeks!

Loads of updates, starting with Moose

A lot has been going on in the past month or two so I'll definitely split our updates in to multiple posts. We are "just" getting home from Hawaii and I'm still getting pictures organized. I'm trying to learn how to use Photoshop Elements but it's kind of a lost cause at this point in time. So alas, I will have to just post them the way they actually look... ugh. In looking through all the pictures, I'm surprised that we only took about 200 shots. I figured we had taken many more than that, but I realized that there is only so much you can actually capture on film.

One big update we have is that Moose is much better. Sometime in June we took him back to the vet for one of our "every couple of weeks" visits. He had continued losing weight (his last known weigh before getting sick, from last November, was somewhere around 20 pounds and the lowest he got during the liver failure was just over 11 pounds) and his eyes were still yellow. Seeing Moose go through so much was really quite awful. There were a couple of times that he would start getting better only to get worse again. Mike and I both honestly thought we were going to lose him. Here is how we fed him for almost 3 months (he came to hate it when you walked towards him with a towel knowing he was about to be Burrito Moose):
Our first visit to the vet was April 28th and our last appointment was June 17th. We took him to the vet every two or two and half weeks for that entire time and he was getting VERY slowly better, but not much. On our June 17th visit, the doctor decided to try an injection of corticosteroids as a last ditch effort. He said he had seen once before a cat come in with hepatic lipidosis and after 10 days of seeing no improvement, decided to try steroids with good results. Because we had been seeing minimal improvement each time, the doctor kept putting off the steroids (which, can I say, was by far the least expensive med we gave him throughout the ordeal) which can have sequelae in the way of lowering the immune system or bringing on diabetes for a cat who is already on the brink, among other things. Within a day or two though, Moose was eating through any amount of food we would put out in front of him. We left him in the bedroom with his food, water, and a litter box for a couple weeks just to make sure he was the one actually eating his food (since we saw Trucker and Oliver both eat it at some time or another) and by the time the second week of July came around, we transitioned him to eating where he previously had been in the basement.

One of the things I was most worried about was having to leave him when we went on vacation if we were still having to force feed him. Luckily, Lou didn't have to learn how to force feed the cat. When we got home last week, Lou said that everyone had been eating well and I immediately checked Moose's eyes for the awful yellow color. I'm happy to say that Moose is back to normal, eating any and all food put in front of him, and snoring away just like the night I brought him home... and just to try to prove the point, compare his ears in the two pictures below:
Moose in May - very icteric ears and scrawny with no energy at all

Moose tonight - I could barely keep him still enough to get a picture. Notice the non-yellow ears