One week

JAtlas is about a week old and, honestly, he’s been pretty chill. Jen has been an amazing mother and has aced the caregiver role. I’m not very useful beyond getting chores done and occasionally bringing food or beverage to Jen.

Here’s Mom & Dad D with JAtlas:


Jen and I are just about falling into a rhythm now. The nights are occasionally tough, but not at all what I had originally expected. Most of the time (day or night) he sleeps and his cries are only as long as it takes us to either feed him or clean him.

I’ve heard that this phase doesn’t last long and that weeks 6-8 can get really rough, but at least for now we’ve simply been enjoying the quiet cuteness.


On 5-10-2016 at 12:52am was born Johnathan Atlas DiDonato!
7lbs 9oz, 20.75″ long.

Pictures to come. In the meantime we will be trying to keep the little guy happy not unhappy.

The Waiting Game

And now we wait.

Baby D is expected any day now. The house is mostly ready, I didn’t finish the utility sink; but I’m not overly concerned. We decided to plan for something a little more intense with our laundry room renovations; we will see how it goes what with expectations of massive time consumption by Baby D.

One of the unexpected strange parts of this life-change might be our open schedule. Usually we plan multiple events for 3-5 weekends out. But right now our schedule is basically open well into June – not one event scheduled. That’s a weird feeling.

The Pantry!

As I mentioned in the previous post, we’ve been firing through our to-do list. It took about three weeks to finish the project, mostly because things always take longer than I plan.

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The annoying part of our pantry was that the California closet style wire shelving was bending under the weight of our couponing. To compensate, we put all of our cans on the floor – and as we bought more and more they expanded outward and consumed the pantry.

Our plan was to take these out and put in some stronger, better supported Melanine shelves. While we were at it we’d paint and add some pizazz.

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Fun fact: shelving like this is held in entirely with anchors. And tearing them out will destroy your wall. I was surprised at how much wall repair was necessary with this project – but in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been.

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The wall is fixed!

For stylins, we decided to paint the wall a nice grayish/slate blue and then use a white stencil for a cool pattern. Why stencil? Affordability and easy make-over-ness compared to wallpaper if we wanted to change it in the future.

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The Stencil (from THIS site)
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Let’s talk Stencils. On a simple flat accent wall? AMAZING! So easy! So quick! So beautiful! On walls that have corners and edges? MISERABLE. The stencil instructions from Royal Design Studio were pretty good for corners, but it was tough and didn’t work that well in our application.

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With the walls complete I started in on the shelves. I was METICULOUS with my methods and tried very hard to be as precise as possible. The problem, was that I had foolishly assumed that the corner of the pantry was 90 degrees. Ohhhhh… so foolish. The angle was actually about 100 degrees, so I’ll have to do some trim fix ups.

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The bottom three shelves have a reinforcing beam right down the center. I intend to add front faces as well, but haven’t cut the pieces yet. That, however, didn’t prevent us from filling the pantry!


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BOOM! Project complete!!*

*Complete enough that I can move on to the next one…

Electric Pneumatic Fantasic

It’s been a race against the clock for home rennovations at the House of D. As soon as Baby D rolls in time is expected to be in short short supply, so we best clean up our to-do list ASAP.

We’ve had four goals for the year:

  1. Shed. DONE
  2. Basement electric work. JUST FINISHED
  3. Pantry renovation
  4. Utility Sink

Today’s post discusses #2 with its extra bonus pneumatic system.

The problem: Ain’t no outlets in the basement.

When our house was built there were only two outlets put in the basement. This makes having a little workshop extremely inconvenient. In fact, for these first two years of living, the workshop has been running off the outlet for the water heater fan. Further, the lighting was terrible: a single bulb lit up each quadrant of the basement. No bueno. Admittedly, I am not very familiar with electric work but figured its something that every dad should know how to do. So after some quick conversations with Dad D, Sander, and a few of my electrical peers I got to work.

The solution: Add in a 15amp and a 20amp circuit, spotlights, and a bonus pneumatic line to the garage. Check it out:


I added two outlets on the right wall, one on the rear, and two on the left. There are also now beautiful spotlights above each workbench blasting extra light to the workspaces. Here’s the air compressor:


Note the small manifold on the right with black pipe that goes up and to the left. This busts through the wall to the garage. The compressor is plugged into an outlet controlled by a switch in the same gang box. That’s a three-way switch with one switch in the basement and the other in the garage…

air hose

where we have a reeled air hose! DANG! So now I can quick turn on the air compressor from the garage if I need to refill tires or do some autowork. It’s beautiful!

I feel extremely accomplished. Next up, the pantry and the Utility sink!