Saturday, October 30, 2010

Why all the cracking ?

To everyone who is asking why our newly installed walls and ceilings are cracking, I have to say that we do not have a definitive answer. No, we do not live on a fault line!

After reading several "How to Sheetrock"  books, it appears that fiberglass tape should NOT be used with pre-mixed joint compound. Even the Home Depot 1-2-3 book warns you that cracking may result. Special setting compounds are required for fiberglass tape.

Don't people use fiberglass tape and pre-mixed compound all the time ? Yes, but many times this leads to problems with joints cracking. The sheetrock god, US Gypsum, warns on their website, "Do NOT use fiberglass tape with joint compound, only with setting type compounds". This same warning is carried on their fiberglass tape.

Our contractor does not think this is the cause of the numerous ceiling and wall cracks.

If you are going to be installing sheetrock, I suggest reading more about paper joint tape vs fiberglass tape. Paper is significantly stronger and recommended by the majority of sheetrock professionals.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Leaf Blower

  I was walking Cooper and Otis and we passed  a landscaping crew cleaning up leaves. This was the first time Coop saw a walk behind leaf blower. I thought Cooper might be scared of the noise. Instead, Coop started whining and wagging his tail.

The sight of a hundred leaves blowing around was fascinating to Coop. Coop loves to chase the falling leaves and this was a bonanza. I pulled a reluctant Coop away from the landscapers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eating cats & acorns

The mailman brought Otis and Cooper a very special gift - homemade cookies from Bobbi. Bobbi had originally adopted Otis in Maine, but could not keep him. Bobbi still keeps track of Otis thru the blog.

The dog treats are in the shape of cats, bats, owls and acorns. Otis is very happy to finally be able to snack on cats and acorns.

The pups love these treats! The cookies smell so good, that I am tempted to eat one. Thanks Bobbi & Michael !

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Cracking

After  painting the built in cabinets, the dining room wall needed some touch up. As I was painting the wall, I noticed a hairline crack. I took a deep breath and tried not to panic. Perhaps the wall crack was limited to just one spot .

In my heart, I knew that just like the ceiling, most of the walls were probably cracking. I looked in the hallway, family room and formal living room. Every external wall is cracking!

If I was angry about the ceiling, I am furious about the walls. Every room will have to be repainted.

Jeff is trying to find a resolution for this debacle. Jeff is talking with our contractor, Steve, to see what will be done to remedy this situation.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Slippers II

I realized that my slippers would never survive if I left them on the floor. I put the slippers on a shelf in the closet and thought that would be the end of Oti's interest.

Two days later, Otis pranced out of the closet, proudly carrying my slipper. It seems that Otis had no problem reaching up to grab my shoe.When Otis stands on his hind legs, he is as tall as I am. So, I guess I shouldn't be surprised at how high Oti can reach.

I find it odd that Otis ignores racks of leather shoes, but desires a plush slipper. Otis is a puppy at heart and it seems my slipper is now his favorite toy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Built In Update

The built in cabinet doors have been painted and installed. I think that the cabinets look nice and will be a focal point in the room.

I was able to fit most, but not all, of the china into the new cabinets.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oak Trees

After Oti's acorn incident, I read online that acorns and oak leaves are poisonous to dogs. Since Otis did not swallow or chew the acorn, I was not worried.

A few days later, I was walking the dogs. Cooper was chasing the falling leaves. I looked down and Coop had an oak leaf dangling from his lips.

Maybe I do want winter to get here quickly after all.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tick Season

It's that time of year when the ticks start trying to find a warm place for the winter.  Every now and then we spot a tick on Cooper's head and yank it off immediately.  I wonder how they end up on his head?

Thursday, October 21, 2010


With the cabinets almost finished, I hoped that our work on the house would soon be finished. That is, until I noticed a crack in the formal living room ceiling. Upon closer inspection, there were 2 long cracks. I was upset, but Jeff said this may be due to settling. Steve was still working on the cabinets and said he would fix the problem. Jeff and Steve looked at the other rooms and did not see any issues.

I came home to find that most of the joints in the formal living room ceiling had been taped and plastered. I nearly cried. The entire ceiling has to be repainted. Before painting, furniture has to be moved, all light fixtures have to be removed and  curtains have to be taken down.

Fast forward to a sunny day after the cabinet construction was finished. I slowly walked thru the downstairs and found multiple cracks in the hallway, family room and dining room ceilings. Almost every ceiling joint is cracking.

I am angry and disheartened. For there to be so many problems, the cause is either faulty materials or faulty workmanship. Jeff and I spent weeks painting the downstairs and this work will need to be redone. When we renovated, the process seemed to go fairly smoothly. I never imagined that 3 months later, it would become a nightmare.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

1,000 posts

This is our 1,000th blog post! When Jeff started Wilton Diaries back in 2006, I never imagined it would survive so long or that I would become the principal writer.

I suppose that my writing many of the posts is not that surprising. Growing up I thought of becoming a writer or an English Lit major. Practicality won out and I graduated with a BS in Computer Science.

I have learned a lot by writing on the blog:

* Writing is hard work. It may seem effortless, but a lot of time is spent crafting ideas, taking pictures and putting the content together.
* Deadlines are tough. To maintain interest, I try to post every few days. However, life is not always interesting and even Cooper and Otis have settled into a predictable pattern
* My admiration for talented authors has grown. It seems that I often fail to find the words that truly express what is in my heart. Yet for some, this is a seemingly simple task.

I am still pleasantly surprised that people take the time to visit our blog and share in our Wilton adventures. To all our readers, thank you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I was grilling on the deck and saw Otis pick something up and start to chew on it. I thought perhaps Oti had found a stick, but there was nothing hanging out of his lips.

I decided that I should find out just what Oti had. Good luck trying to get a large dog to open his mouth, when he does not want to.

I finally got Oti's mouth open and stuck my hand inside. Talk about trust, I have no doubt that Oti could crush my hand if he wanted to. I searched around and pulled out an acorn! I threw the acorn over the railing. Oti just stood there and stared at where the acorn landed.

Maybe dogs really are like toddlers, putting everything in their mouth.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Painting Built Ins

The panel, mantel and cabinets have now been painted. It took many hours to apply 2 coats of paint to all of this wood. The doors still need to be primed and painted.

I like the look of the mantel and built ins. However, I am not sure that it has the Wow Factor that I was hoping for. Perhaps putting items into the cabinets and on the mantel will help make this more interesting.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Sometimes I forget just how handsome our pups are.

Friday, October 15, 2010


The dining room cabinets are now finished!

I hope that we can complete the painting in 2 weeks.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I finally threw out my old sheepskin slippers that Otis loved to carry around. I hoped that Otis would ignore my new slippers. Unfortunately, by the end of the first day, Otis realized that the new slippers would make a fun toy.

Otis loves to run upstairs, grab a slipper and carry it off. I may find a slipper in any room of the house. If Otis feels that he is not getting enough attention, he lays down in front of me with a slipper in his mouth. I go over to retrieve the slipper and Otis gets the attention he is looking for.

I knew I was in trouble, when Cooper grabbed a slipper and began to prance around with it. Coop's tail was wagging and he had a play with me look on his face.

I may be asking Santa for another pair of slippers for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Waiting on Glass

The wood panel over the fireplace has been built and installed. The edges of the large middle panel match the edges of the firebox.

The bottom cabinet doors have been built and installed. We are waiting on the glass to be cut and polished, so the top doors can be finished. We are also waiting for the Restoration Hardware knobs to be delivered.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The cabinets and mantel have been primed. The doors are still being made.

I believe that painting the cabinets and mantel will take longer than painting the balusters on the staircase.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Splash of Color

I couldn't resist these beautiful flowers. They really brighten the kitchen.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Where's Cooper ?

Depending upon the time of day, Cooper can be found in different rooms. Coop likes to follow the sun and is enjoying the new windows.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Last Column

The last column has finally been painted. Now when you walk through the front door, the foyer appears finished.

If you go up the stairs, you will see that the stairwell still needs painting.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


The rainy weather has slowed down the cabinet construction, since the damp weather makes it difficult to work outside cutting the boards.

The mantel  is now finished. We chose fluted columns as the mantel's legs to mirror the other columns in the house. The crown molding on the ceiling is also used on the mantel to unify the design.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


On the weekend, Otis does not get to sleep all day long. By the afternoon, he is ready for a nap.

Looking at all those teeth makes me glad he is a friendly dog.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


With  the tropical storm and strong winds coming, I thought I should bring in my plastic watering container from the deck. When I picked up the container I saw that there was water in the bottom and a monarch butterfly floating on top.

I could not reach my hand in to pull out the butterfly, so gently poured the water out. The butterfly was free from the container, but just lay on its side. I tried to stand the butterfly upright, but it immediately fell over.

I realized that the butterfly's wings were wet and it could not fly. I was not sure what to do. I then saw the mum in full bloom and gently placed the butterfly on a flower. The butterfly was able to grasp the flower and slowly spread its wings. I thought the Monarch could have a snack while he dried out.

When I looked outside a little while later, the butterfly was gone.

Monday, October 04, 2010


The dining room curtains have been hung.

I had bought a curtain rod before the chandelier arrived. After seeing the chandelier, I realized the curtain rod would not be a good match. This meant another trip to Penney's to exchange the rod.

The dining room table has been put together, so we now have a place to sit.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Shoe Molding

Now that the hardwood floors have been refinished, the shoe  molding has been installed.

While the installation took only a few hours, the painting of all this took much longer.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


The old mantel has been removed from the fireplace and the cabinets are being built.

When construction completes, we will paint the cabinets white. Yes, more painting.

Friday, October 01, 2010

New Food

I think that Otis has allergies, as he often chews at his feet and scratches at his ears. This is especially noticeable after Otis eats. I am not sure if these are allergies to food or pollen or grass.

Jeff saw an ad for a new Science Diet Prescription d/d dog food. This food is supposed to help reduce food allergy symptoms. This dog food can only be purchased from a vet. When I called our vet, I was told they do not carry this food, but could order it. I was then asked if the dogs would prefer salmon, venison or duck.

I know that Cooper had enjoyed salmon before, so ordered an 8 lb bag. I mixed the new food with the existing, to ease the dogs into their new diet. I was surprised that both dogs gobbled up the salmon and potato kibble.

The prescription food is pricey and I do believe that the dogs may now be eating better than we do!