Phoebe

Turtles are actually pretty high maintenance, they require expensive tanks and all will grow to the size of a dinner plate.

You may seem them advertised as minature, etc. but there is no such thing as penny turtles. On top of that they require lighting and special diets. They're a pretty hefty commitment, its not unusual for them to live 70 years or more.

And they aren't easy to rehome when they aren't little and cute anymore.

Phoebe

I'm sorry, but I really don't like the "cash split" thing. While I understand that it's encouraging giving to charity, it completely takes the baby shower out of the whole picture. Guest go online and donate - there is no picking out something, nothing tangible or concrete which is the point of a baby shower. Plus, it sort of says, "give me cash," even when that isn't the intention I'm sure. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but something about it just doesn't seem...genuine.

If you want to encourage giving, I'd far prefer to see "please no gifts." But don't try and divert the guest's money to another source, if you don't want it then don't invite them to a baby shower in the first place.

Some people really like the impulse to turn away from getting presents and send the love to a charity. But that is the thing, if the people want to give to a charity they will. You don't need to feel self satisfied that you "gave" instead of received. I find it tacky when people tell you right down to the model number what they want. I think I am not along, others have found this tacky as well, but then glitter kitten feels the same way I do about baby showers. They are more of less tacky. And that is unfortunate. Especially when they have such a wonderful opportunity to be special.

I remember a friend in school who would ask for pet food instead of gifts and then she would take it to the animal shelter.

For me that is a little bit different, she didn't ask people to give money to either her or to a select few charities. She wanted pet food. Ok, I was glad since seriously with what teens like it could have been pricey for my small budget. But it also didn't push. Some kids would bring bags of dog food. Others would just bring a can of cat food.

At the end of the party she would have a nice pile.

She was happy, her friends had a good time, and some homeless pets would get to eat.

I feel like anything that has do with asking for money for a charity is kind of tacky and I am off-put by it. If it were totally altruistic and asking for donations well I would bite the bullet.

Yet, even implying parameters for gifts, especially cash, seems weird. I would buy a gift in that situation.

Phoebe

We've always followed the top down rule. Start with the ceiling, then walls, then floors- then whatever goes on top of floors.

That said we've not done a full gut job on a bathroom yet so that has only been for bedrooms/living rooms.

  • Electrical and plumbing.
  • Drywall Ceiling.
  • Drywall Top half of wall. If doing tile for tub/shower, use cement-board.
  • Tub/Shower pan install.
  • Drywall remainder (or cement board as noted above), tape and mud. Texture if applicable.
  • If doing tile for surround, redguard(or similar) for waterproofing.
  • Prime and Paint.
  • Shower/tub surround & Flooring.
  • Entry door (if applicable).
  • Vanity, Baseboard & Trim.
  • Toilet.
  • Misc. (towel racks, TP holder, etc.)

Do baseboard before your vanity is "furniture" style (has legs, and doesn't go flush to wall) rather than "cabinet" style (Flush to wall, looks like a built in similar to kitchen cabinets).

Phoebe

One place that particularly needs drainage is near the front of my house, in a planting bed. My driveway prevents me from digging it 10 feet away from the front of the house. There are actually moisture issues on the inside of the crawlspace, which is why I wanted better drainage nearby.

As long as you're not turning the ground into swiss cheese you can drill as close to the foundation as you want. Once you backfill the hole with sand, it's not going to "cave in" and take your house with it.

To avoid sinkhole formation we're going to back fill the holes with sand.

Sand is a better option than gravel because there isn't a large void space to fill causing voids elsewhere. Secondly, unless you have shallow limestone, you're not going to get a true "sinkhole".

Lastly, and the biggest point: installing drains through the clay will cause the clay, especially near the house, to consolidate if the clay is normally consolidated. Now that you have more drainage for water trapped in the clay, the weight of the house will squeeze the water out of the clay voids and cause vertical displacement (Settlement).

As long as you have a consistent spacing of your drains (say every 5 feet) around the perimeter, and you do all of them at one time (don't start half in the summer and wait a year to do the other half next summer), if your house settles, it will be more uniform and will likely not cause problems.

Phoebe

Those stores don't "do" kitchen remodeling. They just send it out to local contractors to come in and give you a quote.

They're typically on the high end of pricing for what they do.

The biggest problem I have with them though tends to be the constant fight between who's responsible for what - contractors vs store.

I'm not saying don't use them, just be aware of what it is - it's not HD/Lowes doing the remodel.

IKEA cabinets are: ordinary MDF cabinets, as are most sold everywhere else. IKEA is high-density 3/4" particleboard with melamine covering 4-6 sides. The usual cheap cabinets are low-density 1/2" particleboard with a plasticky cover on one side.

IKEA's sizes are limited which can make some kitchens harder to lay out. If they offered 9", more 21" doors, 27" and 33" cabinets they would kill the cabinet market.

The doors/fronts/gables are sturdy enough and come in a wide range of finishes /woods/colours and quality ranging from cheap to very good, and their hardware/hinges are excellent. The variety of boxes and accessories at IKEA is huge, and in an entirely different league than HD/Lowes.

Their prices are unbeatable in my experience.

Phoebe
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For the most part our new home will have some form of hardwood flooring, that hardwood is very up in the air. It could also mean pergo etc..

One thing for us to consider is our dogs. We think slipping is mainly what we have to worry about. Especially when they get excited and try to take off somewhere.

Dogs "launch" with their back legs and if those slip out from under them, they can easily pull a muscle or something. The old saying "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" definitely applies in this case. If it really concerns you, put down some area rugs to minimize the danger.

I haven't used bamboo myself, but have heard good things. As a nice engineered hardwood. These come in different thicknesses, so typically thicker=more durable and you can pick based on budget.

Hardwood is the best, most durable, but is generally much more labor intensive to put down. If you are looking for a weekend project, we have had people point us towards the engineered flooring because I find that the product is easier to use. We want a floor that will take a beating, and also be able to sand it down over and over for refinishing, bite the bullet and get hardwood.

Pergo is not an engineered wood. It's laminate (pressed fiber with a layer of wood looking stuff on the top. Engineered wood is more like plywood. It's basically wood throughout, but only the top layer of wood is of any quality.

We installed wood-looking vinyl in the past. It held up well to all of our animals. A friend did the same and he had a golden retriever and was happy with the results. People think it's wood until they step try tapping on it.