new car smell

I was planning on buying a new car this year and took care of that yesterday. I got a Hyundai Kona and I love it! I fully intended on buying a used one, but I’ve been watching for months and there just aren’t many available (and the ones that were available were mostly in the base trim, which I was not interested in). So, I was looking around and found a really good deal with Cochran Hyundai in Monroeville. I was able to make the deal online, including trading in the Optima. I went there yesterday to finalize everything and pick it up.

This was “my” first new car in some time. Due to all of Brian’s driving for work, we’ve had a car and a truck since 2012. He always drove the car for work since it got better gas mileage, but the truck was really his, too. So, I’ve been a woman without an SUV (my preferred mode of transport) for 8 years.

You never know what will happen, but I hope to keep this vehicle for as long as I possibly can, which is why I was so picky about the trim level (and color, to an extent). Boy have things changed since our last car purchase. This vehicle has so many cool features that I’m actually going to have to read the manual so I don’t miss anything!

powder room progress

With much help from Jake, we got the flooring installed over the weekend. And, then he installed the toilet on Monday. The toilet seems to be working (i.e. not leaking) so I guess my fix with the flange worked, but I won’t be totally convinced of that until much more time has passed.

I’m buying the rest of the supplies (vanity and related items, hardware, shoe molding, threshold trim, and tools) this weekend. It’s kind of a pain not having any tools in the house, but I’m buying them as they are needed. I’m hoping to get this wrapped up by the end of the month, but we’ll see what happens.

Right now, I’m patching the walls and then I’ll touch up the paint. After that, the vanity can be installed (which might prove a little difficult as I haven’t really done any plumbing before) and then the hardware (which will be easy). The shoe molding and threshold won’t be difficult either, but it does need to be stained and finished first. I don’t have any other major projects planned for the year, so once this one’s done, I’ll be back in maintenance mode.


Things are going great with Ralphie. I took Monday off work so we could get acclimated and then I worked from home on Tuesday. The two of us went into the office the rest of the week and he did really well there. He and Esme got along well, as you can see from the photo.

Ralphie has been doing great with house training. He’s already had a couple accident-free days and has started to go by the door when he has to go out. And, even though he’s teething, he hasn’t tried to chew much stuff other than dog toys. He’s not overly active, either. I mean, he has some puppy energy, but it’s not overwhelming. He seems to do pretty well just going on walks and playing in the house.

Jake and I took him to the vet yesterday. Everything looked good. The vet says he’s actually more like 5 months old. So, considering that, he’s doing even better than I originally thought. He has an appointment to get neutered early next month.

The only sticking point we had this week was that he did not want to go to bed at night. He was ok if I slept in the living room, but he did not want to sleep in my bedroom (or the crate that’s in my bedroom). So, I gave up on Thursday night and let him sleep in the living room by himself. He did just fine–no accidents or chewing. He came into my bedroom at 5:30am on Friday morning, so I let him outside at that point and then we hung out in the living room until it was time to get up for work. Last night, we did the same thing, except he crawled into my bed in the middle of the night and then slept there until 7am. So, hopefully we have this figured out now, because I’d really like to get some sleep.


Since Buster is so old, I thought 2020 would be a good time to get a new dog. Then the first week of the new year, I decided that probably wasn’t the best idea. Then I went to the shelter to walk dogs and met Ralphie. So, now I have a new dog. Ralphie is a 6 month old shepherd mix (mixed with what? I’m guessing beagle; I’m planning on doing a dna test on him after I get all of the other new dog expenses taken care of, so we’ll know for sure at some point in the future) and we brought him home yesterday.

He’s doing pretty well, so far. Buster and Sylvester are tolerating him. Sylvia is not, but I guess you’ll have these things. He doesn’t seem overly energetic, but we’ll see how he is once he settles in. His current interests are drinking water, peeing, and chasing Sylvester.

powder room remodel

The old powder room

We haven’t been able to use our basement powder room for quite some time as the toilet has been leaking. The leak also ruined the laminate floor in the room, which made the fix a bigger job than just fixing the toilet.

Since I like to do home improvement stuff in the winter months and since Jake’s now using the adjoining family room as his hangout place, now seemed like a good time to tackle this project. So, last night, I disconnected all of the plumbing and removed the flooring.

On the plus side, it’s now obvious why the toilet was leaking–the offset flange that was installed was pretty much half-assed. I mean, I’m no plumber, but even I can see that it wasn’t installed properly. Plus, when Jake removed the toilet, the wax gasket wasn’t even touching the bottom of the toilet. Sigh. This is why I don’t like hiring people to do work on the house.

Anyway, after a little research, I think I can fix the problem quite easily. I just need to fill in the cement they chipped out to install the offset flange and install a flange spacer to fill the void between the flange ring and the cement floor (since the flange was installed on top of the old flooring and really should not have been). This will set me back about a week since the cement will need to cure before I can screw the flange back in, but I’m not really in a hurry, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

Jake was really pissed about this and wanted to call the original plumber to complain about it, but since it’s not going to be difficult to fix, I’d rather just do it myself so I can ensure it’s done properly this time.