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After all the adventures in plumbing, the next project in the queue was taking out the crappy stairs down to the basement. For reference, here's a photo of the stairs:

Originally published at Casa de Lovely
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I need to fix my screens:



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Originally published at Casa de Lovely
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Since my last post I've gotten a bunch of smallish projects done, and I'll address those before going into the stairs project and the painting project:
(Plumbing and Electrical!)

Originally published at Casa de Lovely
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We're finally able to go ahead with upgrading the electrical service from 125 amp (and a totally-full, out-of-date, not-terribly-safe panel) to a nice shiny new 200 amp Siemens panel.

The plan is to install a new mast and meter in a better location on the house (where the wires won't cross over the roof at no more than five feet clearance), run conduit back to the same room in the basement as the old panel, install the new panel there, put in a 100-amp breaker and run a feeder cable to the old panel. That way I can leave the horrible mess of electrical spaghetti untouched for now, and as I remodel rooms put new circuits in the new panel and retire circuits from the old panel until I can remove the old panel completely.

Originally published at Casa de Lovely
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The treehouse is down. Went up on the ladder with the sawzall a couple of weekends ago and made pretty short work of it, considering that it was fairly sturdily built -- except of course it was built of non-treated lumber so the roof was bowed in and the 2x4s were soaking wet. It's really amazing how big the pile of junk lumber is from such a small building.

Originally published at Casa de Lovely
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My boss specifically asked me this morning if I knew any HTML developers looking for a job.

I don't know where the position he's trying to fill falls on entry-level/expert-level scale (since it's apparently not on our careers page yet), but I can say that it's been a good company to work for and a good team to be a part of.

If you're interested (or if you're interested in any of the other positions open), let me know and/or send me your résumé.

Squatters

May. 17th, 2010 02:30 pm
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Jen looked out the window yesterday and noticed that we had visitors:
Two big fat raccoons scurried up the pear tree and into the treehouse. I saw them again later going up, so it's pretty clear that they're living there. Yet another reason to take the damn thing down.

Earwormed

May. 4th, 2010 10:54 pm
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Okay, some Yo Gabba Gabba earworms are better than others:



"Pick It Up" by GOGO13

Yard Work

Feb. 24th, 2010 01:10 am
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Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

So long time no post from me and all that. Yeah yeah yeah, I know.

The bathroom is still tantalizingly incomplete. I bought window and door casings from Second Use and cut them to size, but now they're sitting in my basement unsanded, unprimed, unpainted, and uninstalled. And of course I still haven't done anything about the tub/shower valve escutcheon, although I did fix the broken screw in the shower arm drop-ear, so it's solid again.

The main point of this update is the most recent bit of yard work Jen and I did last weekend. It's been unseasonally good weather the last week or so (it stopped today, naturally), so first Jen got out and raked up all the leaves, sticks, and dead morning glory from the side yard.

Read the whole thing »

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Well, looks like I'll be out at the Merc tomorrow for the first time out at all in literally ten months. It's non-smoking night, so I won't have to sleep on the couch after. And it was Jen's suggestion, so I don't have to feel particularly guilty, either. :-)

And since it's an "event", I hope I'll see lots and lots of people. Hint hint nudge nudge.

Leopardy!

Jan. 28th, 2010 09:05 pm
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 I just took the online contestants' test, and since I knew I'd only have fifteen seconds per question *and* I knew I wouldn't get my score back I voice recorded it so I could check my answers later. Long story short, I sucked. I got between 29 and 31 right out of 50 (I may have forgotten to read a couple since my tally only goes to 48). This is much much worse than I do when I'm watching the show, in which I regularly get 40 or 50 out of 60 correct (and I got 44 out of 50 on the practice test). So either I choked exceptionally or the online test is particularly difficult.

In any case, my score is out there in Jeopardy land, and *if* I passed and *if* my name comes up in the random selection of passing applicants they might contact me sometime in the next year to interview for being on the show. In San Francisco.

I know for sure that at least a couple of people on my friends list have taken the test -- how hard was it when you took it and how did you do?
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Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.


I am so sick of working on this bathroom. Rather, I'm so sick of working on this bathroom and having one stupid thing after another break or go wrong, or just be poorly designed (or have the instructions not match the equipment).

But before I start ranting, here's the progress so far (and there really has been a lot of progress, just a whole hell of a lot slower than I wanted):

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The Baby Gate

Since we have a little one who will be bipedal any day now yeesh, Jen's been after me to put up a baby gate at the top of the stairs. The instructions said it needs to be installed into a solid if not structural elements, which presented a problem. The staircase has sidewalls, but they have about three 2x4 studs each -- you can wiggle them about an inch either way without even needing any effort -- so I couldn't install the gate into the obvious opening. There are structural columns at the top of the stairs which are in place of the original outer wall of the gable cottage but which now form one of two arches from the addition on either side of the fireplace -- one into the stairwell and the other into the living room. But they're too far apart for the gate.

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Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

Don't get me started.

Our agent called last Wednesday to tell us that she had forwarded the last set of photos to the underwriters, and they wanted two things: a photo of the area where the rubbish pile was from the same vantage point so they could see it was the same area; and a coat of protective sealant on the garage door. When I asked what the hell "a coat of protective sealant" meant, she said "a coat of paint."

Read the whole thing »

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(This was supposed to cross-post to Jen's LJ, not mine, but for some reason it didn't do either properly. Go here to see the post at Casa de Lovely.)
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Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

Here's where the sink is going to go. What's wrong with this picture?
IMG_0286

(And no, "it's red" is not the correct answer.)


Read the whole thing »

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Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

At the same time as the work in the bathroom, I've also had another project foisted on me by our home insurance policy carrier. Apparently the insurance inspector took a little tour around the grounds and had some issues he wanted fixed or they would CANCEL OUR POLICY!!

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Score!

Oct. 20th, 2009 10:17 am
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Jen saw this at Amazon this morning and it is ours for the low low price of $99.95!



Even with $80 shipping, it's still cheaper than Craigslist. No more manual lifting! Woot!

Originally published at Casa de Lovely.
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Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

“Honey, you’d better come home — there’s water coming out of the ceiling…”

I noticed a couple of drips in the parlor on Wednesday — Day One of Seattle’s fall monsoon season — but since it didn’t more than drizzle yesterday I couldn’t really check up in the attic to tell where it was coming from. Today it rained harder and longer, and Jen (who had only a half day at work today) called me at about 2:00 to say that the dripping was a lot worse.

I got home, went up in the attic, and fairly quickly discovered the source of the leak. The attic venting “system” in our house is six hooded vents spaced along the sides about three feet up from the eaves and a ridge vent. The vent over the parlor had an obvious area of wet rockwool underneath it, so even though I couldn’t see any active dripping in the ten minutes I was up there that was obviously the source.

I had to make a trip to Home Depot to get an extension ladder, and then climbed up on the roof in the pouring rain to find something looking almost exactly like this:

… Except with moss instead of straw. There were two problems: the nails in the bottom edge were missing or loose, and from the inside I could see daylight along the bottom of the vent, so wind-driven rain could easily get inside there; second, a careless roof repairman at some point had tossed away a scrap end of a shingle which had hung up on the top side of the vent, allowing moss to grow and water to pool up.

I had half a tube of sticks-in-the-rain squeezy tar left over from Nate the Handyman installing the bathroom vent hood, so I climbed back up the ladder with the tar loaded in a caulk gun and a brick trowel as a scraper. I cleaned out the moss and dirt as much as possible at arm’s length (I stayed on the top of the ladder rather than trying to crawl onto the 45┬░ rain-slick shingle roof), and then squeezed all the remaining tar under the shingles and edges of the hood.

I guess it worked, since it continued to rain hard for another three hours or so and there’s no more dripping. Someday when we have money again (ha!) we’re going to need to have the roof completely stripped and re-laid, since apparently there’s more roofing than sheathing at this point.

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Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

… Since the last post. And the bathroom’s still not done, dammitall.

I kinda ran out of PTO (well, not really, but I ran out of time I could stay away from work without making my boss mad), and then we moved in. You’d think that moving in would mean I’d be able to get more work done, but actually living here means I’m not alone when I’m here and thus liable to being called away to look after the baby, lift heavy things for Jen, install shelves in closets, fix the internet connection, and all the other obligations of daily married-with-children home life. Plus it’s very difficult to work in the evenings as either we’re eating dinner, I’m giving Jen a break from the baby, or they’ve gone to bed and the noise would wake either or both.

We moved in on September 25 pretty much without a hitch. We used Mountain Movers, who I have to recommend, as they were tireless, efficient, and professional. I managed to severely roll my ankle going down our porch stairs, and it still hurts two weeks later. If I hadn’t been wearing my combat boots I’d probably have sprained it.

Jen’s been getting lots of unpacking and organizing done. The house looks almost entirely like a home and not a storage facility, although we don’t have the books out yet — mostly because the parlor, where the bookshelves will go, is being used for temporary drywall storage.

Speaking of drywall, our friend Chris has been coming over on weekends to help out. Together we got all the necessary blocking (for nailing/screwing edges) installed, the outside wall insulated, the ceiling drywall hung (not that well, sadly), and about half the wall drywall and cement board hung.

Yeah. So, I’m never drywalling a ceiling again without a drywall lift. That shit is heavy. And next time, I’m cutting the drywall from the back side, because I guess thirty years of playing D&D and other tabletop RPGs has left me able to precisely conceive and measure a top-down plan but nearly incapable of measuring, drawing and executing a bottom-up view. Suffice to say that one piece of the ceiling went up fairly well with a minimum of fitting, but the second, more complicated piece ended up with either half-inch-plus gaps or overly-tight, creaking, breaking spots around the edges. There’ll be a lot of filling with joint compound in my future when I get to the taping stage.

Also, when I say we got about half the drywall and cement board up, I kinda mean the middle half, vertically. The plan is for 42″ tile wainscoting with drywall above. The walls are 95″-96″ high. Cement boards are 36″ wide, leaving a ~6″ gap at the bottom to be filled with a strip of cement board. Drywall is 48″ wide, leaving a ~4″-5″ gap at the top. I still have to fill in those gaps. (Oh, and I discovered that there’s a 1/2″ difference in the floor from one corner of the bathroom to the other. Luckily, the two walls on which I’ll have to cut base tiles at an angle will be mostly concealed by the toilet, sink, and dresser, so I hope it won’t be all that obvious.)

I’m pretty sure I can get the rest of the drywall and cement board up this weekend (Chris is busy). The only pieces larger than 36″x60″ are the closet drywall walls, which are standing on end and thus will be easy to maneuver and install. I need to install the floor cement boards, but for some reason I’m very nervous about mixing the thinset, even though it looks dead easy on TV. This is probably the same nervousness that makes me a lousy cook — when they say “mix until it’s the consistency of peanut butter” I get all anxious; do they mean creamy Jif, or do they mean that oily runny organic stuff? So I’ll be reading the directions very carefully and as much as possible mixing precise weights and volumes together.

I’ve already figured out how to cut all the remaining necessary pieces out of my three and a half remaining sheets of drywall and my nine remaining sheets of cement board, and then I’m going to have to figure out exactly where my tiles will have to sit┬ávertically to

  1. make an entirely seamless pattern extending from wainscoting to shower surround,
  2. end up with my top row of 2×6 black bullnose tiles overlapping the cement board/drywall joints in both areas, and
  3. not end up with slivers of tile either at the floor or at the tub/wall joint.

I was going to take precise measurements and create a scale drawing in Adobe Illustrator, but it occurs to me that just attaching a bunch of tiles together with masking tape and holding them against the wall will probably be easiest.

We just found the camera cable today, so I finally got all the progress pictures loaded onto the laptop. I’ll see about posting those tomorrow while Jen is off getting her hair done and leaving me with the baby (can’t drywall with a baby, y’know, so I might as well blog).

January 2015

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