Monday, February 28, 2011

Sore Arms

Sunday morning Dad and I continue working on the kitchen sink.  We attached two countertops to their respective cabinets with silicone.  Then we did the same with the sink, being very careful to clean up all the squeezed out stuff so it won't be visible on the counter.  That part was messy, but we got it done.  Dad then went to work getting all the plumbing connections joined under the sink.  That took him most of the day.

While he did that, Mom continued her battle with the hall wallboard.  She was using 2 pieces of 1/4" board (we had a bunch left over from the heater hole).  At one edge, it would be flush with the 1/2" piece adjacent to it.  At one edge it would bulge and be almost 5/8".  She planed that edge down and was finally successfully.  I knew she would win the war!!  When she finished that, she spent the rest of the day with joint compound smoothing out joints and all those ragged edges from the scraped paint.

I spent most of the day outside with the weed whacker attacking the jungle that had sprung up recently.

I earned a blister and sore arms for my efforts.  It took several hours (not sure exactly how many since I wasn't actually paying attention to the time).  Looks much better now.  Sorry, no before/after pics.

After Dad and I finished our jobs, we hung some cabinets in the bathroom.  They'll give me some much needed extra space there.  Putting those up was not fun.  Everything was super heavy yesterday with my sore arms.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Scaring Dad

Saturday started with Dad and I finishing the living room floor.

While we did that, Mom scraped paint from the last wall of the hallway.  She then cut open a hole that had been kicked in at one point in time.  It took a bit longer than originally though because he kick had cracked the backside of the board.  It wasn't visible, but made the board wobbly.

At out lunch break, we went to the store and bought a bunch more stuff, in order to use a coupon that was expiring this weekend.

When we got back, Mom attempted to patch her hole.  It turned into a war and the wallboard patch piece won the day's battle.  Mom came up with a plan to be implemented Sunday to try to win the war.

Dad and I worked on installing the kitchen sink.  Dad put the sink baskets and stuff on while I cut the counter for the sink hole.  That took quite a bit of time.  Dad's little jigsaw hadn't had such a workout.  Here's a shot of Dad doing the last of the cutting.  My arm was tired of the constant vibration and needed a break.

It was pretty funny taking this photo.  Dad was focused on what he was doing and had no idea that I had pulled out the camera.  I took one photo without flash, but it didn't turn out very well.  I turned the flash on for this one.  When it went off, Dad looked up, frightened.  He thought the saw was blowing up!  Totally didn't mean to scare him at all, but it sure was funny.

The last bit of work for the day was painting the cut edge of the sink hole to seal it.  By the end of the weekend, I'll have a kitchen sink.  That will make living here much nicer.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


So, my electric meter hasn't been registering anything.  At the beginning of the month, I called and let them know there was a problem.  The first time they sent someone out nothing happened.  Thursday, they sent someone out again.  I arrive home at 11:30 at night to discover my power is off.  Street light is working so I know it's not that the rain storm knocked out power.  I somehow manage to find the flashlight in the garage and head out to check the meter.  It's totally gone!  Now, I'm pissed off.  I know what has happened before I call - previous tenants had tampered with it to get electricity for free. I just know it.  I call customer service and wait for 45 minutes to speak to someone (clearly not many people working the overnight shift).  I'm willing to wait because I want to get someone to come out on Friday to fix this problem.  No such luck when I reached someone.  All she could tell me was that I had to call Revenue Assurance in the morning.  Alas, we got disconnected before she was able to give me the number.  I had to start the whole process all over again.  Finally got to go to bed at 12:45 - very upset and annoyed.

I set my alarm for 7:55 so I could call as soon as they opened at 8:00.  Did that and only got the chance to leave a message.  They would call me back by the end of the next service day.  That did little to quell my anger as there was no way I was going to wait until Monday to talk to someone about this problem.  I left a detailed message explaining the fact that I had called to report the problem so there was no way I was the one to have tampered with the meter.  It was quite obvious from my tone that they had a disgruntled customer on their hands.  As I was telling Mom ad Dad, I would have been significantly less pissed off had they left me a message on Thursday.  Apparently simple courtesies escape some people and businesses.

After leaving my message, I start getting myself ready for the day.  It's then that I discover that I have more to add to my frustrations.  The rain storm has shown me that I have a leak somewhere and it is evidencing itself in the bathroom.  Fortuitously, it's coming down right into the garbage can.  One more thing for us to work on.

Since we had no electricity, we chose to do work in the hallway that needed doing.  Mom finished cleaning the ceiling.  I scraped paint from the walls.  Mom and Dad have never seen paint behave this way in all their years of fixing up houses.  It's just coming off in sheets.  The end result:

Alas, I swept up the paint before I could take a picture.  They really were large sheets, not little chips.  While this was going on, Dad was working on that hole above the heater.  He added some cement board to try to insulate some of the heat from coming all the way through the wall.  We'll have to buy some 1/4" wallboard to finish the job.

We're thinking the heat from the furnace is what is causing the paint to peel away in large chunks.  It just does it for the top half of the board.  The bottom half of the wall has the paint stuck on well, like it should.

At 10:30 I get a call from Katie at the power company.  She's wonderful.  She clearly listened to my message.  First thing she tells me is that it was their fault.  I'm right about the fact that I called the problem in and that I should not have had my power cut off.  She's already called it in and someone will be out to replace my meter that day.  Thank goodness!  At 11:45, Kevin showed up and fixed it.  I now have a working meter and electricity. Yay!

After the paint chipping and cement board putting up, Dad and I rehung one of my kitchen cabinets to be 2" lower so that my antique cookie jar will fit in the display shelf the cabinet creates.  We then worked on finishing the living.  We got it mostly done when we discovered a chip (which would quickly grow significantly larger) in the end of a board that had already been placed.  It would require us to remove some boards to get to that one.  We decided that would be a good stopping point for the day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Rest of the Weekend

So, Saturday saw Dad and I laying more floor.

Mom took this while she was cleaning the ceiling.  It was a short day of work.  I left for a friend's birthday.  Mom and Dad, being the wonderful people they are, worked the rest of the afternoon laying floor and plugging holes with spray foam.

Sunday, Dad and I continued laying floor.  We got the kitchen finished. Yay!

While we worked on that, Mom spent her time removing the damaged wall board from over the wall heater.  It had bubbled out and was going to need replacing.  This is what she found:

The wallboard had actually been on the furnace piping.  The constant heat has disintegrated the sheetrock, which is why it missing on the pieces that have been propped up for the photo.  Time to figure out how to fix something else.  This seems to keep happening.

At about this point, we stopped for lunch and made a shopping list.  When we got home, all three of us worked on fixing the gate.  Earlier this week, it had been windy and rainy.  The wind hates my gate and I came home to discover this:

The wind is just too strong coming off the channel behind my house.  It puts far too much stress on the hinges, as you can see.  So, we took down the gates and cut them shorter since the above post was clearly no longer good at the top.  This involved removing two support bars, cutting planks and reattaching the support bars.  Then, we rehung the gates.  We then used a bar closure (similar to a barn door).  This provides a lot more rigidity at the center where the two gates meet.  Hopefully this will be enough to keep the gate from swinging around wildly in the wind and stressing the hinges.  The new gate looks much the same, but is significantly shorter than the original.  It's kind of humorous actually.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Laying Floor

When Mom and Dad arrived, Dad and I got to work clearing out the living and dining rooms.  We would lay floor today.  I got a floating floor of hickory looking laminate.  Dad took some measurements and figured out how we would start.

Laying the first two rows was a giant pain!  We snapped together the entire length of the first row.  Then we attempted to slide it against the wall where we needed it.  It was tricky sliding it under the door sill and kept coming apart at some seams when we tried.  Very frustrating.  Dad decided that we needed to add the second row to give it some stability.  Hopefully that would stop the seam from coming apart.  We connected three boards and then added them to the first row.  That went fairly well.  We added two more and then two more and finished the row.

Alas, that did NOT solve the problem.  Mom got down with us and the three of us tried to figure it out.  Eventually, we decided the wall is not perfectly straight - it bows a bit.  This was what was causing our problems.  Dad removed some of the shims he put in and we let the floor slide under the wallboard in places.  No more seams coming apart.

After that, the process went quite quickly.  We added one board at a time and it was a smooth operation.  Click in board.

I pound end while Dad taps connection to bring the two totally flush.

Move on to next board.

It was great.  We got about 1/3 of the floor down.  More fun for the rest of the weekend!

Mom, when she wasn't wrestling the first two rows with us, put down peel-and-stick in the sink base cabinet. That will be nice in case my sink develops a drip and I don't  notice right away.  She then got to return to her favorite task ever - washing the ceiling!!!  She's working on the hallway now.  She wants to get it done before we're laying floor there.  She's great!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Moving Weekend

It was a busy weekend, so sorry you missed the daily updates.

Friday was a working day.  Dad and I continued work on the countertops.  We discovered we needed an outlet for the stove, so we got that added in the morning, just in the nick of time.  We also cut the majority of the counters.  That took a while because we needed to make sure they would be square and flush with one another.

These counters generate a LOT of sawdust.  Here's the dust from just one cut.

Mom worked on getting my hallway closets ready for moving in.  Hallway coat closet painted.  She was just going to stick down tiles in the other closet (shelves) but decided to paint after she got a second look.

You can see what a difference the paint makes.  She got it mostly painted and tiles stuck down.  Mostly painted because she discovered an old rat's nest that needed cleaning.  It was disgusting.

That's pretty much all the work that happened on Friday.  We then put tools away and covered counters and generally got the place ready for moving on Saturday.

On Saturday, I awoke and started and headed to the house to get some beans cooking for eating when the moving was done.  I then headed back to the apartment to pack boxes.  Brother showed up about 10 at house with a washer for me (Thank You).  He and Dad then both brought their trucks to apartment and loaded them up.  Friend From Work (FFW) came and helped pack with me.  Good times.  Alas, she had to leave early and didn't get to enjoy food and socialization later.  Best Friend and her family showed up when FFW was leaving, so they look over the packing.  Bathroom got cleaned, kitchen got packed, cars got loaded.  Brother and Dad filled 5 truck loads of stuff and moved it into the house.  At about 3 or so we were mostly done and had out beer, beans, and biscuits.  Thank you to everyone who helped!!

That evening I got a few things put away.

Sunday, Mom and I went to the apartment to finish it up.  There was still some stuff needing boxes - we had run out Saturday.  And of course, paint touch-ups and cleaning.  We were there about 3 hours or so.

While we did that, Dad made strips for laying floor next weekend.  He also started working on the washer .  I spend the afternoon putting things away.  Dad hooked up the washer and started making small shelves to go under the bathroom sink.  Mom put tile in the two closets so the floors would be mostly level for laying down the laminate next weekend.

Busy weekend.  I live here now.  Sort of a weird feeling.  It's MY house, which is cool.  But also a construction zone.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Late Start

Mom and Dad didn't show up until about 11.  I moved some stuff into the house, put peel-and-stick tiles on the shelf I made yesterday, and attached cleats to the wall above the non-cabinet for the countertop to rest on.  At this point, I was starting to worry about Mom and Dad and gave them a call.  They were just leaving.  I took a brief break and then attempted to find the studs in the dining room.  Dad had difficulty a few weeks ago when he was doing some electrical work in the wall.  It was a bear.  According to the stud finder, there are studs just about every 6 inches or so.  Definitely not the case.  Going lower on the wall, I eventually got reasonable readings.  I double-checked with nails, just to be on the safe side.

After Mom and Dad arrived, we went to the store and I bought inexpensive countertops.  They're solid wood and only $3.75 a square foot!!!

We got home, ate lunch, and got to work.  Mom kept working on the green ceiling board from yesterday.  She alternated between that and taking out the cardboard from the cabinets.  She used stripper, but the board is still green.  We may have to stain it brown.

I applied the first coat of oil to one of my countertops.

Dad fixed the two drawers that weren't working properly.  After those tasks were done, Dad and I built a little stand to put under the cabinets for the dining room.  I'm putting wall cabinets there, but at ground level to be like a built-in buffet unit.  Then we installed them in the corner.

There will be doors, but they'll get in the way when we install the floor, so we'll add them after the floor is in.

We then put up the cabinet over the sink.  The kitchen sure is coming along!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Base Cabinets Are Annoying

Dad and I started the day with base cabinets.  Mom had warned me that they were more annoying than the wall units.  Boy, was she right!!

First, we cut a hole in the back of the sink base unit for the plumbing.  Then, we set to work creating a shelf in the corner.  I didn't buy a base corner unit - they were too large.  So, if we install as is, there will be a 2' x 2' waste of space under the counter.  We decided to cut an opening in the sink base to have access to that area.  While Dad cut, I worked on making the shelf.

Funny thing while I was doing the shelf:  I was screwing cleats into the wall for the shelf to rest on.  One screw wasn't going.  I pressed harder and harder.  Smoke started coming from the board and I could smell wood burning.  The screw finally went in and into the 2x bottom plate.  Afterward, I discovered that the drill had been in reverse!  I just muscled that screw in, hence, the smoke.

We the prep work finished and broke for lunch.  Mom had been continuing to fill in tile gaps with the peel-and-stick tile.  After eating, she bought more and finished the job just before dinner.  Dad and I went to work installing the cabinets.

What a pain!  The floor, of course, is not level, and it wreaked all sorts of havoc getting the L-shape in place. Thanks goodness we had Brother's laser level.  It made it easier, but not easy enough.  We needed all sorts of shims, so I lifted the cabinets over and over.  It seemed that once we got it level and attached to the wall, it was out of level again and we had to start over.  After the third attachment to the wall, it was finally right.

Once we got that corner connection, the rest was relatively easy and went much faster.  So glad to have it done.  I definitely prefer installing wall cabinets.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The First of the Cabinets

I beat my parents to the house this morning.  When they arrived, Dad and I started working on putting up the wall cabinets.  Dad measured down the height of the cabinet, plus a little clearance, and stuck in a cleat.  He used that to help balance the cabinet while I screwed it in.  We clamped adjacent cabinets together to bolt them to each other.

Shortly after the above cabinets were installed, Dad had to go in the attic to move the wiring for the kitchen light.  It needs to be a bit further out from the wall than its original location.  Here's how Dad looked:

Dad and I kept putting up cabinets after the light was moved.    Mom painted the dining room.

Mom just thought it was funny how the laser level line was on my face.  =)

Mom finished her task before we finished ours.  When she completed that, she tried Krud Kutter on the random green-painted ceiling board in the hallway.

When she finished that, she started laying down some peel-and-stick tile.  Don't worry; I'm not really using that for flooring.  It's being used to fill in spots where the hideous brown tile is missing so that the underfloor is relatively level when we lay down the laminate.

Dad and I finally got the rest of the wall cabinets up.  Well, mostly.  There's still one to put over the sink.  It's a little one and won't line up with the rest - it will be shelf-like.  We'll probably add it after the sink is in so we can center it, but, maybe we'll put it up tomorrow.  It will likely be easier without base cabinets installed yet.