December 24, 2008
OK, fail. I made a rib make a nasty popping noise yesterday, and now I
can't really move. I managed to clean the bathroom so it's usable, but
nothing else got done. Just running the Shop-Vac was painful.
December 23, 2008
Most of the wreckage is cleaned out of the bathroom, the insulation is in,
and the two full sheets of drywall are up on the ceiling. Even got the
drywall lift rental returned in under 4 hours, so I saved $10. Tomorrow I
cut the walls to an even height, try and get the little spots of drywall
done, and CLEAN. That way the room will be largely airtight and usable
for the holiday.
December 22, 2008, later
I figured out that each week the new boiler isn't in costs me about $75.
The other project this week is ripping out and replacing the ceiling in
the upstairs bathroom. So far there is no ceiling, there's a serious
pile of wreckage on the floor, I rented the biggest hammer drill I've
ever seen and blasted a hole in the brick for the vent fan, and got the vent
fan part of the vent/light unit installed. The light goes on after the
new ceiling is up. Problem is that I've got it all WIDE open right now,
to the point of looking up at the roof, and tonight is supposed to the be
the coldest night yet this winter. Door is wedged shut, we'll see how cold it
is in there in the morning. I expect to be largely done tomorrow, it'll
get to be "pretty" over the next week or so.
December 22, 2008
Argh. Long Heating and Cooling called this morning to tell me they have
to reschedule the new boiler, "How's January". I have this week off, so
the scheduling was perfect. Fortunately, Amanda is between jobs (new job
starts 1/20/2009) so she'll be able to be here. Between the weather and
the usual "no heat" calls they get, this isn't the best time of year for
December 9, 2008
Fun and excitement. I've got a quote in my hands, finally, for a new
super-high-efficiency boiler and installation. I'm guessing it will
save me $300/month during the heating season, cut our gas usage by
half, increase the resale value of the house significantly, ... but
it will cost a small fortune. Less than the roof, but more than half of
the roof. Ouch. It's scheduled for Monday-Tuesday before Christmas.
Hopefully I'll be able to do the bathroom ceiling that week, too.
November 29, 2008
Timing of various things including Thanksgiving made doing the bathroom
ceiling impossible this week. Week of Christmas it is. Holiday is
in the same place, but I don't have a show to work on that week and
Amanda will be home to help AND I have nothing else going on the weekend
November 17, 2008
OK, things are and aren't what I wanted in the bathroom. At some point
people were using the drop ceiling as a garbage can, so there's plenty
of trash up there. Also, the roof collapse around the roof drain blew
in the lathe under it, so THAT's sitting on the drop ceiling. The electrical
will be easier to run with the ceiling out, so I didn't get any of that done.
But I picked up a light/vent that looks about the same as the lights I'm
using everywhere else (John saw the box and thought they'd changed the
packaging without realizing it's a totally different product) so that'll
be good, AND I figured out how to cut a 4" hole through brick so I can
run the vent out. (Rental tools... BIG rental tools.) I have an idea
what the project will cost ($600 or so total) and am really looking forward
to getting it done. Yay, new ceiling.
November 15, 2008
Last night I finally put the light fixture in the entryway back together,
after the last time I attempted to and discovered that I hadn't cleaned
and repainted all the pieces. Looks much better now, bright, shiny brass.
Today I'm starting the prep for ripping out and replacing the upstairs
bathrooms ceiling. Great fun.
October 5, 2008
Roofers finished yesterday. I inspected things this morning, found a couple
minor flaws I wasn't happy with. Owner of the company called me yesterday
and left a message that they were done, and to call to arrange payment. So
I called him on his cell, told him to bring a tube of caulk, and stop by
whenever he wanted to. He just left having touched up the gaps, leaving
the entire tube of caulk, and taking a check with him. It's done and
Also finally refilled the kitchen/dining room heating zone from way
back when we repainted the kitchen, and we have heat on.
October 1, 2008
Roofers aren't here today, it's been raining. They were, however,
here yesterday. I've got about 50% of a new roof. It looks great,
the only problem is that it's white and bright as heck up there when
the sun is out.
September 29, 2008
Roofers got here at 7:45 this morning. At this point, the top 1/3 of
my roof is new, and the dumpster on the street is largely full.
September 18, 2008
Not too much going on, mostly arrangements for the new roof next
week. But I've been making bits of progress on lots of little
projects that have been hanging around for a long time. Today I
finished the new wine racks - 2 racks, each holds 30 cases. The first
is full already, the second will be when we start loading it in the
next few days.
September 6, 2008
Did a bunch of electrical work today - moved the kitchen to a new
circuit, got the circuit run for a new upright freezer (that we haven't
even ordered yet), finished up the lights in the basement that had to
wait until after the beams were done, and cleaned up the loose wires
that had been waiting to be tacked back onto the new main beam.
September 5, 2008
The roof is getting replaced starting on 9/25/2008. Also, there are
new pictures of the beams.
August 23, 2008
I'd love to be verbose about this, but I'm just too tired. The beams
are done. The replacements arrived on 11/14/2003, on 4/12/2004 I bought
the first of the screw jacks as a temporary measure, I first started
jacking on 6/17/2005, I removed the main beam on 1/25/2007, and I started
replacing the cross beams on 6/9/2008. This is officially the longest
dragging project of them all. Pictures will be up when I wake up.
August 21, 2008
OK, I've now relocated all the jacks, because they were in the way of
how the new main beam will need to be installed. That took two evenings
of heavy work, since lifting a HOUSE 1/4" is not an easy task. The new
beam was then moved over next to where it will need to be, and tomorrow
I work on cutting it to size.
August 18, 2008
The dishwasher is installed and has been inaugurated. Whoever
the idiot is who designs dishwashers clearly never installs them.
August 17, 2008
This beam went into place far, far easier than any of the previous.
After a quick problem caused by my having forgotten to cut a nail out of the
way, the new beam actually slid into place so easily that John was simply
pushing it with his hands while I held it up. That clearly called
for shimming, so we then jacked it up enough to slide a 1/4" piece of
MDF in as a practically non-crushable shim.
I've also just spent an hour and a bit working my way around insulating
most of the 1" pipe in the heating system. The box of pipe insulation
was sitting on top of the new main beam that I need to install next, and
this was a way to get it out of the way.
August 16, 2008
The fourth beam has been removed, and the drain for the dishwasher
is in place.
August 12, 2008
Well, the water line for the dishwasher is installed, and the old
second hot water heater is fully drained and removed from the system.
The only problem with that is I'm not going to go mucking about with
the gas feed line other than disconnecting it from the hot water heater
after shutting the little valve. So I have a gas line hanging down in
the middle of nothing. Next time a plumber is in the house...
July 31, 2008
I got the circuit for the dishwasher actually run into a junction box
under the counter where it needs to be, got the hole cut for the hot
water feed coming up to the dishwasher, and figured out where to
put the hole for the drain. That'd be cut, too, if I had the right size
July 29, 2008
So the beams are on hiatus while John is off at Pennsic and Justin is
working on a show, since I can't install a new beam solo. Removal I can
do, but lifting a 14' beam over my head and sliding it sideways doesn't
work so well. In the meantime I'm going to redo the electrical in the
kitchen and get the dishwasher installed (the electrical is fallout from
the dishwasher and prep'ing for an upright freezer.) The refrigerator
is now on a new circuit, so we should be able to use all the appliances and
not pop the breaker if the ice maker starts up :-)
July 27, 2008
Third beam is installed. It really didn't want to go, but it did in the
July 26, 2008
The third beam got ripped out today. No other demolition was needed to make
that work. Unfortunately, I appear to have blown the gear box on my
TigerClaw (sawz-all clone w/ angle adjustments) so I'm going to have to
get that fixed before beam 4. Also, my help is leaving for Pennsic later
this week, so beam 4 wasn't likely in the immediate term anyhow.
July 22, 2008
Second beam is in and done. I had to rip out the drain from the downstairs
shower and the hot water feed to the second floor to do it, but all that
is back in as well.
July 20, 2008
Got the second beam removed yesterday, today is a physical recovery day. OW.
Went to Home Depot and got all the parts I'll need to do some drain plumbing
hack work to get the new beam in, and got all the stuff for installing the
dishwasher at the same time.
July 15, 2008
I figured out how to run the plumbing for the dishwasher today, and
got 4 new circuits pulled from the panel to under the kitchen. OK,
two were mostly done yesterday, but I fixed the one I screwed up
and pulled two more. They aren't finished on the kitchen end, but
they're sitting in junction boxes in convenient locations to make
finishing them up when I need to easy. Tomorrow is Justin's birthday,
so Thursday I'll get back to beams.
July 14, 2008
So I ordered a dish washer tonight, it'll be turning up on Friday. So
when I got home, I started working on getting things together so it
will be *useful* sometime this year. Got two circuits pulled from
under the kitchen to the panel, one for the dish washer and one for
the freezer that'll be a bit later this summer, started to connect
one and accidentally shorted hot to the breaker panel chassis on the
first one I went to power up and test. No injuries but my pride, and
the cable I just pulled is toast. I'm hoping I can salvage something
out of it.
July 13, 2008
Reinstalling the beam wasn't that bad. A couple minutes of ugly lifting,
but the two hour project wasn't overly painful. And the two hours included
a bunch of stuff that was one time - cutting shims for everything, finding
a misplaced square, cutting the beam to length (all the rest are 14' long,
this one was slightly less than 12').
And there are pictures of it all.
July 12, 2008
And now I truly know why I've been avoiding doing the beams. 4 hours
in, one beam removed, and I have to say this is the most physically
demanding work I've even attempted on the house.
July 9, 2008
OK, now that the wedding is done, moving back to working on the house.
We're going to use some of the wedding money we got to get a dishwasher
and an upright freezer, so I've been looking at how I'm going to run
the water and electrical for those (as appropriate, of course). Also,
I've started trying to make progress on the beams again. I've got one
of them prepped to drop, and came across a conundrum that is now waiting
for a special order trim saw to show up. How do you cut a beam that is
practically pressed against the wall? Fortunately, after the one the rest
should be easier, since I have good access to all of them.
June 2, 2008
Another two day update. I'm getting good at working until I drop, so
I have no energy left to update. The kitchen is put back together,
except for the bits of stuff that haven't managed to move back. We're
doing a bit of a reorg as long as we have the opportunity. I even
(finally) built a little oak box that fits around the support 2x4 for
the spice rack, so it looks like it's supposed to be there.
Late last week the light in the downstairs full bath died. Now there is
a new one, much more to code than the old. (The old was an under-counter
fluorescent fixture where they cut the plug off and just stuffed the
wire into the wall, no box or anything.)
May 28, 2008
All the wood has two coats of finish. Now we can really start moving
back into the kitchen - Amanda wants to scrub the heck out of the floor
as long as everything is out, then the radiators go back (they've been
cleaned and repainted, too!), then the stuff moves back in. Sometime
soon I'll repair the window in the door so the room looks good for the
New pictures of the kitchen.
May 27, 2008
The facing is on the little filler "cabinet" next to the stove, the last
piece of baseboard is installed, and everything has gotten its first coat
of stain and polyurethane. It should be done tomorrow.
May 26, 2008
Painting is done, baseboards are up but not finished yet, and things are
just beginning to return to normal. Tomorrow evening I will be putting
up a little facing on a cabinet (that used to be faced with that awful
panelling), the last piece of baseboard, then hitting all the new wood
with polyurethane and stain.
May 22, 2008
First coat of paint is up.
May 21, 2008
The new counter is mostly installed, although the cabinet underneath
isn't even close to done. That'll wait until there's a dishwasher
in it, as I'm not sure where the back of the cabinet needs to be.
Tomorrow we start painting the walls.
May 20, 2008
This project is much larger than it was supposed to be. Originally I
was ripping out the table and replacing it with counter. Now the walls
have been stripped of wallpaper and paneling, the radiators are in the
middle of the floor and will be taken outside to be cleaned and repainted,
the drywall is being patched, some of the electrical was fixed a bit,
it will all get painted, and all the switch plates are being replaced.
I've even got new baseboard to install and new sides for the exposed
cabinets. But there are new pictures.
May 19, 2008
When I got home yesterday, I didn't exactly find what I expected in the
kitchen. I knew Amanda was going to work on removing wallpaper. I didn't
know the wallpaper was installed wrong, making it nearly impossible to
remove. We'll get it, but it's going to take a LOT longer than expected.
New pictures up for the kitchen,
study, living room,
dining room, and foyer
May 17, 2008
The kitchen table is no more. Along with a bunch of wall paper. Over
the next day or two Amanda is going to try and rip out all the wall paper,
then we'll patch and paint and I'll install some new counter space to
replace some of what I ripped out. Not sure exactly where, we came up
May 14, 2008
I'm getting good at missing one update then doing one. The wiring
on the first floor is done except for reinstalling a single light
fixture in the entryway. All new wires means less horrible risk of fire.
May 5, 2008
I appear to have missed one update. Some time since April 19th I ripped
down the old scary chandelier in the study and replaced it with new,
not broken, bright, goodness. I still have to go back and rerun the
power to it from below instead of above, but I'll get there.
Today I ripped down the old crappy light in the dining room, replaced
it with a new chandelier that fits the style I'm using (and actually
matches the study exactly) and replaced the wires back to power to
tie it into the new circuit in the basement. It's great.
April 19, 2008
Decided to be useful today, so I ripped down the ancient ugly light in
the foyer, intending to just replace it with the new light and pull new
wires down to the switch. Got things opened up and saw several interesting
things: 1) right, it's 3 way switches, so there's more wire to replace.
At least the pull between switches was clean, so it was easy. 2) power
for the light wasn't pulled to the switch box, it was pulled to the light
fixture directly and a loop was sent off to the switches. Ugh. 3) Other
lights were also tied into power through that electrical box the fixture
was hanging from. Double ugh.
So, reconnected the wires such that the OTHER lights using that power
came back, pulled new wire between switches and between the switch and
the fixture, hung the new fixture, then pulled new power feed from the
basement up to the switch. New fixture has 2 bulbs, old one had 1. Much
brighter, much prettier, and 18" or so further from the floor, giving more
room when loading big stuff in.
April 18, 2008
New hot water heater installed today, more capacity and lots of newness.
Also, while I was here with the plumbers doing the installation, I rerouted
the power for the living room light, so I've started retiring another
of the ancient circuits still in the house. I'm just not sure how I'm
going to manage the pull to the study light switch - all the others I
have a pocket door I can pull out of the way to get into the wall.
April 15, 2008
It appears my hot water heater has a bit of an incontinence problem.
Unfortunately, they don't make diapers for these... they make replacements.
I may be spending a lot of money tomorrow. *sigh*
April 5, 2008
The changeout of the plumbing is done. The cold water lines no longer
block any of the beams that need to be replaced.
April 3, 2008
No real progress to report, but a couple interesting things. One is that
I'm going to do the big changeout of the plumbing on Saturday, since I'll
be the only one home. Second is Bonded
Logic which is a manufacturer of insulation made of recycled fiber,
primarily denim. I've got a sample at home, I now plan on doing
the entire house with the stuff.
March 29, 2008
4 solid hours in the basement this afternoon making progress. The plumbing
is about as far as I can go without turning the water off and hacking
great chunks of the system out, so I'm hoping to do that tomorrow
afternoon. Also made significant progress on building some big wine
racks, because the piles of boxes of wine bottes are getting out of hand.
March 24, 2008
More plumbing. I've got more than half of the cold trunk reroute ready
to go, it's time for me to start figuring out when the big shutoff is
going to be. I've probably got another 2 hours of work to go before it
really matters, but it's time to plan.
March 3, 2008
A break from plumbing to do... plumbing. I replaced the drain on the
sink in the upstairs bathroom, having a bucket underneath to catch the
drips was getting too annoying.
March 2, 2008
More progress on the plumbing. If I wanted to, I could in fairly short
order rip out all the old cold water plumbing and have something put
together that would not spray water all over the basement. Unfortunately,
that's because the valves would hold it all in and not let any go anywhere
at all. But it's still progress.
February 25, 2008
Working, finally, on the plumbing under the bathrooms. Once I redo the
entire domestic water system, I'll finally be able to pull the beams that
need to be replaced. Got a couple bits of the new copper put together,
and got an ancient piece of unused electrical conduit removed.
February 17, 2008
Wow, I've gotten nothing done this year. Lots to keep me distracted
going on. But I've finally gotten off my butt and done something. I've
been rebuilding my dining room chairs. Ages ago the carpet adhesive
in the dining room had stuck the feet of them to the floor, and when used
like that shifting weight would break the joints. Most of them are nice
and solid again.
Also finally knocked something off the long-term to-do list today. I put
real shelves into the linen closet and repainted it, so it's truly
usable. Doesn't seem like a big step, but the shelves are such an odd
size that it actually took effort to make it happen.
2007 Archived Commentary
2006 Archived Commentary
2005 Archived Commentary
2004 Archived Commentary
2003 Archived Commentary
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