Ceramic tile is probably not the first project for a homeowner do-it-yourselfer to attempt. I’ve spent the last two weeks investigating the feasibility of such a project. I had to figure out:
How to remove our old, beat up vinyl flooring (oscillating multi-tool)
How to calculate subfloor deflection based on truss span and composition, and subfloor thickness
The best (cut off and replace the closet flange) and second best (use stacked wax rings, the bottom one of normal thickness and the top of greater thickness, with a horn) way to reconnect the toilet once the floor is raised in height
Underlayments: Schluter Ditra is a decoupling underlayment and a great alternative to the weight of cement board
How to attach Ditra to the floor (with a modified thinset, preferably spread with the 11/64 (~4.5mm) square notch Ditra trowel — using their alternate recommendation results in poor coverage and using a larger trowel gives you ridges in the underlayment
How to attach tile to Ditra (with an unmodified thinset)
The thinsets to use (VersaBond for modified, TEC Uncoupling Membrane Mortar for unmodified)
How to plan your tile setting so you don’t get slivers at the wall
Trowel size for larger tiles (1/2”)
What trowel sizes even mean
How to snap a grid to set your tile
How to cut tile
How to measure tile cuts (hint, you don’t use a tape measure)
Rectified versus unrectified tile
The challenges of large format, unrectified tile and the recommended grout lines for the latter (3/16”)
How to avoid lippage (Tuscan Leveling System or LASH system)
Whether to cut all your tiles at once or cut them as you set
As Helen Small writes in ”The Long Life,” her study of
the literature and philosophy of old age, “declining to
describe our lives as unified stories … is the only way
we can hope to live out our time other than as tragedy.”
Lively describes the frustrations of autobiographical
memory in old age. “The novelist in me—the reader,
too—wants shape and structure, development, a theme,
insights,” she writes. “Instead of which, there is this
assortment of slides, some of them welcome, others not at
all, defying chronology, refusing structure.”
Here’s a favorite of Essie’s right now: “up-up-up” or sometimes just “pah-pah-pah” is all you hear. She does this while sitting on the ground, possibly looking up at you, with her arms above her head. Hasn’t failed her yet: someone is going to pick her up. She has us well-trained.
I took a picture a little over ten years ago and I want you to take a look not at the foreground (hi, Steve and John!), but rather at the background. See that maple tree back there? That’s in my parent’s neighbor’s yard. The Nelson family: Ken, Reenie, and Ken Jr. (‘Kenny’ to me and Katy). Kenny and I grew up next-door neighbors, and his parents lived there next to mine since 1991. Almost a quarter of a century, now.
I don’t know if my beliefs about material possessions are innate or learned, but I do know that I believe one of the best ways to honor the incredible material wealth we have is to meticulously clean and maintain our objects. I suppose I may be trying to back out some profound explanation or justification for the amount of time I spend maintaining the things around me, but either way, I abhor the thought of disorganization or disarray or disrepair.
Essie just started her own game of peek-a-boo with me; she is standing behind her highchair and peeking out at me with a huge smile. So so sweet. Some of her current abilities and habits to record right now:
Holding steady at 10 teeth. Upper molars pushing on gums but not present.
Language going faster than walking, but…
Just (and I do mean “just”, as I am writing this) stood up all on her own, took five steps forward, then gently sat down, and clapped for herself. Then, she stood up, and walked the length of our dining room table to a chair at the other end. First steps on September 12, and well on her way to walking on Halloween!
When asked what a frog says, Essie responds “bibbit, bibbit.” Cutest sounds we have ever heard.
Nodding “yes” and shaking her head “no.”
Chases the cat, saying “mao mao mao.” We asked her for months what the cat says, and she said “mao”. But, now when we ask how to say cat, she says “mao”. We’ve taken an adorable language misstep.
Essie recognizes mama and “dahd” in photos.
Showing her pictures of herself frequently elicits “babybabybabybaby”.
Loves to do things and bring things. We can ask her surprisingly complex sentences whose syntax we have not taught her at all, which she has apparently simply absorbed. So, “can you bring the boy with the hat to mama?” And she’ll go find her Little People boy with a hat, and bring her to Mykala.
Hats are “ats”. “Atatatat.”
Pumpkins are “puhnka”. She’ll find a picture of one in a book and I hear her going puhnkapuhnkapuhnka. But, what surprised me most, is she paged through the book to find a frog, and then sure enough I hear her going bibbitbibbitbibbit.
Does not love sitting on my lap while I play piano, but frequently wants to be picked up when I’m playing so I can get her something down from on top of the piano (where some of her toys and puzzles live). I don’t mind being a means to an end, but Mykala hears very few complete piano songs these days.