Monday, December 28, 2015

Deck to Patio Renovation

When I decided to rent out my home and down size I knew I had to renovate my backyard deck.  It was almost in shambles and unsafe.  I initially wanted to just change a few planks and the two sets of stairs. 

I initially received three estimates, the first was a decent price to change the obvious (about three rows of wooden planks) but told me he didn't know what he was going to find underneath those planks and the price could go up.  I followed up with him to see if he could give me an estimate for redoing the whole deck but he never replied.

The second estimate told me it was obvious I needed to redo the whole deck as he could see the wood underneath was rotted and dead and would need to be replaced.  So the price went up understandably.

I had a third estimate from the same person that did my master bath reno which turned out amazing.  (Will try to get on that blog next.)  He gave me an estimate for a brand new deck and a price to put in a stamped concrete patio.  The latter, he said would be easier up keep. 

Now that got my wheels turning and decided I wanted the patio and threw out the idea of the deck for several reasons.  Wood termites are common in the area and I didn't want that to be an issue again.  Second, I like the idea of a ground level area for privacy in both the backyard (harder to see from the street) and in relation to the windows at the back of my house which you are able to see into while standing on the deck.  Now, this will not be an issue.

I ended up getting one more estimate last minute that ended up being significantly less than all previous.  He was hired!  I chose him off of and I read a bunch of his reviews so I felt certain of his work. 

Here are some pictures of the before and after's as well as in-betweens. 

You can see the broken stairs here.

A different angle. 

Close up of the stairs.
About 7 years ago I tried to refinish this deck on my own.  I stripped it, sanded and painted it myself.  Not really knowing what I was doing, this is how it looks after that amount of time.
Detail of the second stairs.
This is how it looked when I came home day of demo.  Surprise! Cement stairs under the deck that need to be demolished too.  And a whole cement patio that went under the house.  Interesting.
There apparently was a door here that led from the kitchen to the backyard? 
This is after my patio guy demo'd the stairs for me for no extra cost.  And the exterior wall was finished.  I had to have one guy come in who created the wall and another guy that did the painting.  Even after all of this was added on, the price of the whole project was still more inexpensive than the other offers.
Here are some pictures of the work after the first day of creating the patio and new stairs.
 The new stairway down to the ground floor.
Another view. 
Another view. 
This is the day they laid the cement and stamped it.  It looks dull because they put a special powder over it while it dries to create the coloring.

Still has that powder creating a dull appearance but for the most part finished. 
After they washed off the powder, it is usable and almost finished.

After 30 days, they came back once to add a sealer and it was finished.  It was suggested to reseal every so often to keep up the looks and protect. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New year update

I've recently started seeing a new neurologist who said she was very optimistic that we can get my migraines down from 18-23 a month down to just a couple a month.  She was also very nice and really listened to me/asked a lot of questions.  My last neuro wasn't as such.  He was always rushing through the questions and seemed sort of agitated.

Once again, we started off slow with some vitamins that I hadn't tried before.  Vitamin B2 and Magnesium I tried for about 4 weeks each and it didn't do anything to lower the instances of the dreaded miggy.  Next she prescribed the preventative drug Zonisamide.  I tried this medication for about 6 months to no avail.  I did have 3 weeks straight in there where I had not one migraine, that was a glorious time.  It was business as usual after that.  So a couple weeks ago I weaned myself off the Zonisamide after talking with the doc.

During my most recent neuro check up, the doc prescribed physical therapy, and Butterbur.  Butterbur is a plant derived medicine you can find over the counter.  It was used by Native Americans for inflammation and headaches and has been said to greatly reduce migraines in some of the more severe cases.  I have placed the order for this from Amazon and expect to receive it shortly. I am also waiting for my doc to send me to physical therapist that takes my insurance.  The physical therapist is supposed to use some massaging techniques to reduce tension in my neck.  She hopes that these together will reduce the migraine occurrences.

I'm excited to try out both of these.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Update - Topamax

It's been a while I know....Here is my update:

About six months ago I met with my Neurologist, he suggested I get a brain scan to make sure nothing funny was going on causing my migraines, he said it was a good idea to have one once in your life too.  It was interesting, you lay still in that chamber for 30 min or so while loud beeps and buzzes surround you (not a great place to catch some z's) and you feel sorta like you are on an alien ship being scanned for information about the human race.  I digress...  So results came in and apparently my brain is a-okay.  Nothing fishy there.  So the next order of business was starting small, the CoQ10 was no longer working by this time and the doc said there are other options, first we can start with the light.

Doc told me to continue to take Imitrex when the migraine hit but not to take it two days in a row, that would cause the rebound migraines.  So I would switch off Imitrex one day and extra strength Exedrine the next day. If I had one of those mega migraines when Imitrex wouldn't work, take the second dose with one Naproxen (I think this is Motrin), this seems to work really well.  Me=happy :).

He started me on  B2 vitamin which is over the counter.  I took one pill morning and one at night.  It seemed to work okay for a while, less migraines were occurring.  I had a follow up visit three months later, I was still getting migraines so he upped my dose to two in the morning and two at night time.  After a month or so of that and not much result I sort of weened off taking them all together.

The next follow up visit was just last month, I was still getting migraines and no longer taking anything preventative.  He gave me my options, live like I was or try a stronger preventative that has worked for many migraine sufferers.  One is an anti-depressant and one is an anti-seizure medication.  Yes, this sounds scary and there are side effects but there is only one way to find out if I, in fact will experience any of these side effects. The other option is to live almost everyday with a migraine for several hours and maybe more.

After several weeks of thought and some research, I decided to try Topamax, the anti-seizure med.  I can always stop taking them if the side effects are too much to handle or if it doesn't work.  So I called to doc to call the script into the pharmacy and voila, I picked it up last night.  I am to take 25mg once a night for the first two weeks and then thereafter, one pill morning and one at night.  This medication is meant to lessen the amount of migraines, I read some blogs and it seems to work for a lot of people.  I of course will still be using my Imitrex if I do get a migraine hit.  I took my first pill last night and, not that I was expecting any side effects so soon but, I have no side effects yet!

Final thoughts....I'm kinda excited and kinda nervous.  What are your thoughts/concerns?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

CoQ10 Supplement

I was referred by my primary physician to an acupuncturist.  I was expecting to be stuck with pins all over on the first visit but instead, we just had a consultation.  I went over all my migraine info with him and he suggested a preventative supplement.  The pill is called CoQ10 and it's over the counter.  The doc thinks I may be having rebound headaches due to the frequency of them.  He also gave me a referral to a neurologist so I will be making an appt. soon.

It has actually been a pretty good couple weeks, I don't think I've had one for the past two weeks which is very exciting.  Tonight I am starting the supplement and I've bought a month supply to see how it goes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's in the car

Migraine came to visit Wednesday mid morning, took an imitrex and it was gone by lunch.  Now it's Thursday after lunch time and I feel one coming on again.  I'll have to go to my car to get some imitrex.....on the way to work today, I didn't screw on my top to the water bottle tight enough and 3/8ths of the stuff spilt out into my purse.  Of course I realized this while driving in traffic.  I bobbed for my phone first with my hand, I felt the puddle pooling in the bottom of my fake leather purse.  I pulled my drenched phone out and continued to grab everything else out and place on the floor of my car to dry off (while driving...I know, I live life on the edge).  These handfuls included, several lipsticks (Mac), a foundation ($$), my pill case with imitrex in it (luckily I hadn't opened any of the pills so they were quite safe in their plastic time capsule like wrappings).  Bobby pins and receipts were poured out into my work parking lot with the last bit of water that didn't get soaked into the fabric.  Now my phone sits dismembered upon a paper towel on my desk until I revive it. 

I need an assistant to go fetch me my pills so I don't have to go outside in this condition.  What if I collapse from the pain while riding in the elevator?!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Rough was hard to sleep from about 5am when the migraine started but when I finally got out of bed at 9am, it really hit me, I just got up to get some imi and went back to bed.  I ended up taking two doses after the first one did nothing for approximately an hour and a half.  This was a big one.  I stayed in bed until about noon and when it was down enough to get out of bed, I still wasn't at 100%.  It's now 2:42 pm and I'm just starting to feel normal.  Why does God hate me?

As for what I have eaten.  Nothing out of the ordinary or new.  I had Chinese food on Wed. and some leftovers on Thurs. but the restaurant says they don't use MSG.  Friday morning I had one and now today, Sat. morning.  Hmm.  I don't know what to make of it.  Stress possibly?

I was planning on adding a protein drink that I like this week but now I'm thinking better of it, I won't add anything new this week and see how it goes.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I almost had a breakdown today.  At work we got these silly mugs which were filled with milk chocolate/peanut butter lindt chocolates.  I know I can't have chocolate or else a miggy comes out, but it was right after lunch and the thought of a creamy chocolatey, peanut buttery morsel sounded so perfect.  I told my life coach what I planned to do, that maybe if I just had one or if I ate them really fast and no one knew, it would be the end he had to talk me off the ledge.  I gave the chocolate to a coworker and all was well.  Plus I had chinese food for lunch and for all I know there was MSG in there, are they still allowed to have that?  I don't know but I know it's on the list of what not to eat.   Therefore eating the chocolate would have thrown off my food tests.

Tomorrow I will give away some of my delectable dark chocolate chews to someone at work.  I also have a stash of chocolate protein drinks in my fridge that I used to chug after each workout or just as a snack between meals.  I would love it if there is such a small amount of cocoa powder in there that it wouldn't trigger a miggy.  I will try that possibly this weekend to see.  I miss that.  It's so hard to snack whilst being able to eat almost nothing!  Arrrgh!  But, I am enjoying not having a miggy everyday, it's amazing.  I actually had one this week.  I can't remember what the circumstance was...darn it, I need to keep a food diary.