adventures in heatherland

Paint The Town Red(gard).

It feels good to be making visible progress on our latest project.  I just wrapped up the waterproofing portion of the guest bathroom remodel which means I am one step closer to getting the tile on the wall.


With the first bathroom we renovated, I used Schluter-KERDI Shower to build and waterproof our shower.  Kerdi is a fabric waterproofing membrane that gets hung like wallpaper.  It took me about 4-6 hours to get it done and it appears the most expensive waterproofing option on the market.


This time around I used Redgard.

...and away we go.

…and away we go.

Building and waterproofing a shower/tub surround with cement board and Redgard is more cost effective than Schluter.  Plus, it is way easier.  Imagine you’re painting walls with hot pink greek yogurt… That’s exactly what it’s like.




Cement Board

Cement Board Screws

1 gallon of Redgard

Paint Brush

Paint Roller, Cage, and Tray


Cement board is hung just like drywall, and fastened to the studs with cement board screws.  Then it is ready for Redgard.  The corners get painted first, then the rest is rolled on.  It’s bright pink when it’s wet, and then it dries red.

redguard selfie.

redguard selfie.

When it’s dry, you recoat it going the opposite direction than you did the first time (if you rolled vertically, now you roll horizontally).  After the second coat dries, take a peek throughout the whole surface and check for any pinholes or holidays to touch up.



I had about 70 sqft of cement board to cover, and actually had enough Redgard in my 1 Gallon pail for almost three coats- so I did *almost* three coats, and I also did the strip of floor in front of the tub.

second coat

from pink to red

There’s a great blog I’ve used as a resource for all my bathroom/tile/shower renovation needs, The Floor Elf.  He’s got a free “Shower Waterproofing Manual” that I think everyone should take a look at if they are embarking on such a task, and he also has a full library of other ebooks to purchase with more in-depth explanation.

tile prep

tile prep

Now I’m ready for tile!

Fatherly Advice.

If you were me, how would you be planning for retirement?


photo: shutter stock

Loaded question, right?  I recently asked my Dad this, and here’s the advice he wrote back:

I was waiting for you to ask!  For you and any other young person thinking about their financial future, this is from my heart and based in large part on what I did, and would have done differentlywhen I was your age.  

Let’s start with this question, for everyone: What talks” did your parents have with you?

  • “Son/Daughter, let me tell you about the birds and the bees.”
  • “Son/Daughter, get up and get a job!Any job!
  • “Son/Daughter, let me tell you about planning for your retirement.”

Did your parents give all three talks?  Hmmm…mine neither.

To be truthful, I’m not convinced that when I was 30 I would have been in a position to act on a talk about retirement, but I sure wish I’d had that talk.  

So, let’s talk now.

I know what you mean when you use the word “retirement”, but I’d rather talk about financial independence, which ought to be your real goal.

Think about how much things have changed.  For my Dad, who was born in 1911, retirement had a very specific meaning.  At age 66 (in 1977) he closed his business and played golf every day.  My Dad and Mom could live the rest of their lives not needing to work to pay their bills.  How?  By then, when counting their Social Security income and interest on savings they could live comfortably “in retirement”.  They had the means to live a long time without their money running out, doing whatever they wanted.  They had achieved their financial independence.

Coincidentally, the other day I turned 66.  My goal has always been to reach financial independence, then decide on a separate schedule when, or if, I’ll actually stop “working” and retire.

Your Grandparents had simple pleasures so they could afford whatever they wanted.  The richest person in the world will need quite a sum to claim that financial independence has been achieved.  Everyone has his or her own definition of what financial independence is, expressed in dollars. 

At 66 I have a pretty good idea how much I’ll need.  

  • Did I know this when I was 30?  Heck no.  If you GOOGLE it, you’ll see that experts suggest you’ll need 85% of your pre-retirement income.   
  • Did I know at 30 what 85% of my pre-retirement income would be at 66?  Heck no.  
  • Could I have estimated it?  Not a chance.  
  • Did my Dad and Mom know when they were 30 how much they needed to save?   No. 

Although you can do your best to estimate it, you’ll tie yourself in knots trying to determine a number that is unknowable.  Inflation won’t allow you to know the price of what you are buying until then; furthermore, you won’t know your tax rates, your expenses, or your income.  You won’t know what you’ll be doing then.  And most importantly, you won’t know what you’ll want to be doing.  

What I do know is that you should you save everything you possibly can in your “Financial Independence Piggy Bank”.

Close your eyes and remember as a youngster you saved your allowance for something you really wanted.  You set aside a little bit over time, sliding each coin or dollar into a piggy bank, until you had accumulated enough.  Quite satisfying, right?

You can use the same approach to save for your retirement.

The best advice is when you are 30 start saving.  If you haven’t started, start.  At some point you’ll have enough savings to begin to explore whether the money should be invested and what the word “invest” means.  You’ll want to understand the difference between stocks and bonds, how IRA’s and 401k plans fit into your plans, and issues like tax deferral, the time/value of moneyand compound interest.  

One day you’ll crack open that Piggy Bank and start using up what you placed there years before.  What goes in your Piggy BankIncome generating assets:

Assets: Income:
Savings accounts Interest payments from your savings account
IRA accounts/401K plans Distributions from your IRA account, including the amounts from retirement plans rolled over to an IRA.
Rental properties Rent payments
Small (or large) businesses Income from self-owned business
Stocks Dividend payments from stocks
Bonds Interest payments from Bonds
Annuitiues Interest and principal returns from annuities

Whoa!  Wait a minute…your house…where’s the house?  You thought it was an asset.  It is, but not for this purpose.  Your house simply provides a place to live, it does not provide you a source of income.  When you sell it and invest the proceeds, that’s another story.  But then where will you live?

What’s the moral of this story?  Plan to accumulate assets over your life.  Lots of them, and in many different categories.  But, you ask, what about eating?  I can eat or put money in my Piggy Bank, right?  I can buy a car or put money in my Piggy Bank, right?  I can get a better phone or put money in my Piggy Bank, right?  Reasonable concerns, but you have to make choices to either have what you want now or what you want later in life.  Choices.

These are lessons many people either never learn or learn too late in life.

I’m glad we talked!


So now I have another question for my Dad:  What’s the difference between investing in the market with an IRA vs investing in the market with a regular account? 

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall.

Well, Christmas has come and gone again.


Not to toot any horns, but Mr. Heatherland and I are very good gift givers.  Like, very good.


This year, we showed zero self-control in waiting until the 25th.  Instead, we exchanged one gift per night in the weeks leading up to Christmas because neither of us could wait for the other to open/see our excellent gift choices.


Shopping for loved ones is an exercise in thinking long and hard about what they really need.  And what did Mr. Heatherland need?


Well, this question was actually easy since there was one thing in particular that I knew he wanted, because he mentioned it all the time (and I rolled my eyes every time he said it): A Fogless Shower Mirror.


Brookstone Fogless Shower Mirror

Brookstone Fogless Shower Mirror

Full disclosure: I hated the idea of this because they are so incredibly ugly.  But the spirit of gift giving prevailed over my personal design aesthetic and I gave him a mirror to mount in our beautiful shower so he would no longer have to go to meetings with a patchy beard.


In return, Mr. Heatherland also thought long and hard about what I really needed- and on the eighth day of Christmas I opened a fancy-pants Restoration Hardware Tabletop Mirror to put on my vanity.

Restoration Hardware Tabletop Mirror

Restoration Hardware Tabletop Mirror


One would think that I already had something like this.  But, no.  Every morning he watched me put my makeup on using a little compact mirror that I would prop up on a variety of stacked items.  After three years of watching this little circus act he decided to end my misery.


My new one has 5X magnification– which is actually quite horrifying.  It’s like a car accident; I don’t want to look at my face at 5X the size, but I also can’t look away.


What does it say about a couple that gives each other mirrors for Christmas?  I’m going to ignore the obvious observations about vanity and go with: Great Minds Think Alike.

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