I promised a post about a surprise I planned for S during his Thanksgiving trip to  Red Gate, so here goes…

Prior to S leaving, I arranged with a friend to come do some tile work for us.  It wasn’t a big job, only about 80 square feet, but it was enough that it was a real burden on S.  We didn’t have any of the tools for tile work, and we didn’t have a whole lot of time to focus on such a project.

The same day I dropped S at the airport, the remaining 4 children and I went to Home Depot to pick up the list of supplies my friend had sent me.  That evening, I planted the kids down in front of Netflix, and I learned how to rip out carpet.  I then cleaned the concrete floor as best I could, and finally painted it with a sealant to fill the cracks and seal all pores (it was a basement room).

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The next morning, I baked a triple batch of muffins, and not just one friend came, but 5!  All had done a good bit of tile work in the past, so half started ripping off the trim that was in the way, while the other half started laying out tile, measuring, and coming up with a plan for a more complicated part of the project.

Friends measuring the tile.

Friends measuring the tile and laying it over my beautiful red concrete sealant.

By the time they left that evening, all the tiles were cut, spaced, and mortered to the concrete, and we had a good start on the more complicated part. Three days later, the one friend and his wife returned, and with some help from A, he grouted all the tile while we women fellowshipped and let our girls spend some time playing together.

A helping with the tile cutting.  (Actually, our pro convinced A he needed him to draw a plan on a scrap piece of lumber while the pro cut the tile....but don't tell A!!)

A helping with the tile cutting. (Actually, our pro convinced A he needed him to draw a plan on a scrap piece of lumber while the pro cut the tile….but don’t tell A!!)

A helping nail-gun some trim work around the hearth.  He really did nail, but only with LOTS of help!

A helping nail-gun some trim work around the hearth. He really did nail, but only with LOTS of help!

Later that week, I cleaned the tile, sealed the grout, and replaced the trim work.  My friend and his wife came back one more time to do what they could on the more complicated hearth portion.  That afternoon, I took the trim work he had created, sanded it, stained and sealed it, and temporarily attached it to the hearth, just so S could see the “look” we were going for. Then, time was up.  The next morning, I picked my guys up at the airport.

I didn’t say a word to S, but he walked in and noticed immediately!  He LOVED it! He isn’t very emotional normally, so I’m pretty sure his reaction was sincere.  He will soon finish up the final stage of that last, unfinished area (mainly just grout and sealant), and we’ll call it done.

The hearth, still needing a bit of grout and sealant, but otherwise finished.

The hearth, still needing a bit of grout and sealant, but otherwise finished.

The finished mudroom.  SOOOO MUCH BETTER!!

The finished mudroom. SOOOO MUCH BETTER!!

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