Archive for the ‘remodel’ Tag

01-18-2015 Journal – Bathroom Destruction!   Leave a comment

Now that the holidays are behind us and I’ve had two weeks to catch my breath, it’s time to get back to work.  My biggest goal for this winter was to repair and remodel our upstairs bathroom.  It’s been unused for almost two years due to a major leak either inside the walls or under the floor.

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Job 1 is to demolish whatever it takes to find that damn leak.  My first step was to remove the old shower unit that had been an eyesore at best.  Three days ago me and my trusty sledge hammer began the process of removing that unit.  Everything I’ve tried to do in this house for the last six years has been a struggle.  The house is almost twenty-five years old and it shows.  The rooms aren’t square and the people who built it should have been arrested immediately after first kicking their ass. The wiring is still a problem even after the entire place was rewired just three years ago. Unfortunately there are still certain areas and other issues that are just waiting to be discovered.

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This photo was taken yesterday after I spent three days removing that damn shower and the wall behind it.  The entire unit not only was screwed tightly to the walls but the installer used what looked to be approximately ten tubes of construction adhesive to glue it in place as well. There was no way to just remove the unit without removing the walls too. More unwanted work to be sure.

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Once that was accomplished I began my investigation into the leak. I was forced to remove a large section of the floor and after following the water stains it told me the leak was water flowing on the surface of the floor and not beneath it.  There were no water marks within the walls above floor level which told me the leak wasn’t in the plumbing inside the wall.  As best I can determine is that the leak was caused by a faulty drain connection in the old shower unit. 

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Over the next day or so I’ll do a thorough cleanup of the bathroom to allow me to double check my findings one last time. I can then begin the process of putting in the new shower, toilet, sink, and floor.  Then add some beaded wainscoting, a fresh paint job, and new lighting fixtures and BAM. Job completed sometime in May . . . . .  I hope.

04-21-2013   2 comments

This is the day to celebrate.  My remodeled room is for all intents and purposes completed.  I’ll be adding all the pretty little bells and whistles over the next few weeks like a new fan, outlet covers, a closet organizer, and a new heater cover but the tough stuff is done.  It’s been a long winter working on this room but I succeeded in getting it done on time and within budget.  All of you will also be glad to know that I won’t be boring you with any further bitching and complaining about it,  a Win/Win for us all.

In order to celebrate this accomplishment my better-half came up with a perfect solution. She felt it was necessary to make the rounds of area antique shops to look for a few things to put in the new room.  Since this room was remodeled primarily for her use she desperately needed one large piece of furniture and a number of smaller decorative items. Who was I to argue?

We didn’t go very far from home for our first stop and while I’m not a big shopping fan I entered the building with the best of intentions.  It was filled to the brim with just about everything you could think of making it a long drawn out effort to see everything in one short visit.  I may not be a career shopper like my better-half but I can still spot a good item from a distance.  I saw a small desk that must have been close to eighty years old being used to display many other smaller items.  Since we both decided we would be decorating the room a little more eclectically, I thought it would make an excellent vanity for all her lotions, jewelry, and the ton of other female accessories she owns.  Normally when I make these kinds of suggestions, she will just smile, pat me on the head, and tell me it’s just not her style.

She stood there for five minutes checking it out.  Without saying a word she walked around it, touched it, smelled it, and then told me to measure it.  She walked away to another area of the store to look at something and said nothing further.   I measured the desk, she nodded, but continued her shopping. I figured that was an unspoken "No thank you".

Then I was dragged nearby to look at a 1955 era dinette set.  It had an oval table, four chairs and a leaf to extend the length of the table.  I love Retro but I didn’t think she’d be all that interested in that sort of thing.  This dinette set was in almost new condition and would fit perfectly in our kitchen’s breakfast nook.  She had me measure the table size and when I was finished we walked to the main checkout area to talk with the store’s owner.  In five minutes she talked the owner into dropping the price of the dinette set fifty bucks and then told the women we were going home to do a few room measurements but would return shortly.

We drove to our house, took the required measurements, and immediately returned to the store.  We bought both items without any further discussion and after a couple of trips later had everything back at our home.  To say I was stunned is a huge understatement.  I’ve known her for more years than I like to admit but this was the very first time she made this kind of decision in such short order.  Her usual decision making process is to not make a decision.  Over the years on a number of occasions we missed out on really good buys because she wanted to wait and think about it for a while.  We’d return the next day and find the items purchased and gone.

In my opinion any progress made in these matters is a good thing.  It was a huge shock to see her so taken with something that she could deny her urge to wait. It’s nice to know that no matter how well or how long you know someone, they can still surprise you.

It was a great day, we made two excellent purchases, and we’ll be enjoying them for years to come.  Good for us.

04-17-2013   Leave a comment

My drywall frustration continued again today shortly after I started priming the ceiling.  I’m enough of a realist to understand that no matter how hard you try it’s almost impossible to do a remodeling  project in an old house that is just perfect.  I accepted that fact and decided early on I would deal with those problems as they occurred. Well, they did.

I purposely made the decision to for this to be a winter project and to take as much time as necessary to do it right.  From the first that freaking ceiling was a problem.  It wasn’t level and the room wasn’t square but I fixed each issue as best I could and proceeded on. In my heart I knew that no matter what there would be certain areas I could never get perfect.

As soon as I began painting today I discovered a new drywall rule of thumb.  Everything good is really bad and everything bad is really good. Every area that I was concerned with turned out perfect and the two areas I was worried the least about became the biggest problems. One area couldn’t be  properly fixed and will require additional repair work once the remainder of the room is completed. It’s just so damn frustrating.

Enough with the damn remodel.  I finally made my way outside and it was the most gorgeous day so far this month.  I managed to complete some of the yard cleanup, chatted with a neighbor or two, and cleared my head of remodeling issues.  After my better-half arrived home from work we sat down and began to plan the garden.  What and where we should plant, buying additional soil to fill the frames, and a possible expansion of the garden to allow her to plant thirty of forty of the larger species of sunflowers.  It was an hour well spent that will make this year’s garden preparation less of a challenge.

One of our neighbors stopped by and he really has a bad case of garden/spring fever.  Over the past few summers he and his wife created a basic home garden and discovered how much they enjoyed it. This year their two young daughters, ages five and seven, are becoming more involved.  The girls are are ready to jump into things immediately and  have already started a few seeds and can’t wait to get a little dirty with their mom and dad in the garden.   It should a great summer for all of us exchanging gardening tips and canning techniques.  I’m looking forward to my first visit from his girls to talk about our gardens.  They’re too cute to be believed.

My book reading goal was reached last night when I completed both my sci-fi and non-fiction novels.  I read well into the night and had a great time in the process.  Now I can finish the third book at my leisure and take a little time to properly enjoy it. 

Slowly but surely I’m making progress.

04-03-2013   2 comments

I’m celebrating a little today because finally the freaking drywall job has been completed.  If I never see another sheet of the damn stuff again it will be too soon.  I estimate about an hour of sanding and smoothing before we can do a whole-house cleanup which could take a very long time.  That insidious white dust can be found in every room of the house even though I took great pains to control it.  Some things just can’t be avoided I guess.  The mere fact that I’m actually looking forward to doing the priming and painting should tell you how much I won’t be missing drywall. DONE AND DONE!

Other than the remodel things have been very quiet around the house of late.  My better-half’s been working a couple of weeks of some really weird shifts making our time together somewhat limited.  The grand child has brought an illness home from daycare and their entire family has been sick for more than a week.  I’ve been pretty much left alone except for the cat who is also not too happy about the lack of attention.

Today was first day in a while when I didn’t have to get up early and work on the remodel.  A day where I could sleep in and lounge around and even get out of the house to run a few errands. Why did I ever think that things would happen as I’d hoped.  The better-half left early for work and it wasn’t long before I wished she’d taken that damn cat with her.

The feline nagging started immediately since she left without feeding him.  He was unhappy and made sure I was too.  He walked slowly around the bed meowing at the top of his lungs until I brained him with a pillow.  Just as I was getting back to sleep he started his old routine of jumping on the bed, walking all over my body, meowing loudly, and then running away before I could grab another pillow.  He repeated this at least eight times before I found myself wide awake and none too happy.  Once he realized I was awake he disappeared from the bedroom and planted his furry little ass next to his food dish and just waited.  I made my way to the kitchen, fed the little bastard, cursed at him a few times and went back to bed.

Now I’m lying here writing this because I couldn’t get back to sleep.  Does the term "urge to kill" come to mind?  I think a few hours away from this place will allow me to clear my head a little and keep me from drop kicking the cat into next week.  The older he gets the more like my ex-wife he’s becoming.

This appears to be the beginning of what I fear could become a very bad day.  I think a few cups of really strong and tasty coffee just might do the trick to turn that around.  I’m willing to try just about anything to improve my day before the better-half returns from work.  The last thing we need is to have is a stupid argument instigated by the cat.

I think a quick trip to the discount book store might help.  I can calm myself with an hour of browsing through the racks to find a few interesting mysteries I haven’t read before.  This has been one helluva winter.  I been reading two books a week all winter but with the weather finally breaking that should slow down a bit.  I find myself actually looking forward to starting the yard work and preparing this years garden.

I’m out the door searching for a better day.

03-19-2013   2 comments

Well, we’re buried under another foot of snow and I’m beginning to hate it.  Mother Nature’s taking it upon herself to be annoying and there are a few hundred thousand people here in Maine who are no longer amused. Today was spent sitting in the house and looking longingly out the window for one ray of the ever illusive sunshine.  After a few hours of that I was ready to fire up the snowblower and get to work.  After clearing the snow I returned to the house to again sit and look out the window until the snow again piled up.  Today that is my life.

Around 2 pm I retired to the man-cave for a few hours of computer time and some quality time with the cat.  He was no help at all so in frustration I returned to my dry walling project.  I set up an area in the garage and began to cut the drywall panels for the room remodel.  What a mess.  I finished enough panels to do about half of the walls and called it a day when I realized the longer I worked the more mess I was making. Falling back to an always available old saying, "all things in moderation", made it easy for me to clean up the area and walk away.  My better-half, that burley female construction worker (sarcasm), assisted me in carrying the panels up to the second floor which was a real backbreaker for both of us. I felt a little better about returning to my snow watching after having accomplished something today. From weather reports it appears the storm will be lasting  until sometime tomorrow so I’ll be snowblowing well into the night. Oh joy!

Fortunately my Harry Potter-2 X-box game arrived two days ago (thank you Amazon) and I was able to spend an hour or so creeping around Hogwarts castle looking for trouble.  It’s was a great way to clear my head and relax (at least for me) for a little while.

Tomorrow the snow will stop, the roads will be cleared of snow, and I can get back into my spring time mindset.  I can’t let this snow ruin my Spring Fever feelings. 

03-17-2013   2 comments

More good news today.  After an entire week of forty-five degree sunny days, we have another effing snow storm working it’s way here from wherever the hell they come from. Once again we’re to be buried in more than a foot of snow.  There goes that good old Spring Fever feeling right out the bloody window.

Today is sunny and wickedly cold but I’ll deal with the cold to have this much sunshine.  It’s amazing what energy a little sunshine can create to help motivate me.  I’m doing a small amount of work on the remodel this morning but nothing too strenuous. After all it’s Sunday and that supposed to be a day of rest, right?

Since it’s a lazy day for me I’m determined to do a few things that I’ve been procrastinating about for weeks.  I spent some time cleaning my camera and lenses.  Removing the silicon skin used for protection against my clumsiness is a pain but the camera needs a thorough cleaning.  It’s something I should be doing on a regular basis but for some reason I never seem to make the time to do it.

Next is my work shop.  It’s a freaking disaster area and while I might make some progress in cleaning it today, it’s going to take many more days before it’s anywhere near clean and functional enough.  What I really need is a huge dump truck, a five gallon can of gas, and a pack of matches. Nothing says cleanup like a raging bonfire.  I’ve promised myself that fifteen minutes after the last of the snow has melted there’ll be a huge bonfire and I’ll be feeding it until the workshop is emptied of trash and old wood scraps.

This snow storm is really screwing not only with my head but my Spring schedule.  Mother Nature truly is a "heartless bitch".  Our Spring and Summer seasons here in Maine aren’t very long as it is but these late snow storms are just salt in the wounds.  I guess I’m becoming something of a whiny little bitch so I’ll shut and get on with things.  Thank God It’s only a few stupid chores that are irritating me.  I mean it could be much much worse. I could be returning to the workforce, right Lily?

It’s time for me to get to moving, stop complaining, and become a useful citizen once again.  I hate that.

Posted March 18, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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03-04-2013   Leave a comment

The start of another work week for everyone and unfortunately for me as well.  It’s becoming painfully obvious that I’m working much harder being retired than when I was actually working.  For some reason I expected that taking early retirement was going to be the end of my labors and believing that  makes me a gigantic moron.  I should have know better.

I started with a huge and complicated goal when I took retirement.  I sold my home and together with my better-half we decided to update and repair her home.  I must have been brain damaged as a child to even think to take on a project like that especially dealing with a thirty year old home with five bedrooms.  I now only have one wish.  I want to meet the effing a-hole who built this place and I want to beat him with a huge stick for about an hour. There isn’t a square room in the entire building, the wiring was a complete and utter disaster, and who in their right effing mind puts drop ceilings in the kitchen and bedrooms.

I thought I was some kind of handy-man when I started this project but I’m a whole lot smarter now.  In the last five years I’ve touched damn near every wire, board, window, door, and floor in the freaking building.  Guess what?  I’m still not finished.  If I’m lucky I’ll have the entire house completed except for the kitchen within the next eighteen months. I won’t even begin to tell you what a nightmare the kitchen will be.  It has to be gutted completely and redone from scratch.

With my luck I’ll finally get this place finished and then I’ll get hit by a truck getting the mail from the mailbox.  I’ve done a few things in my life that deserve a karmic slap but I for the life of me I can’t remember doing anything bad enough to deserve this house. KMN

Enough of the whining.  I just left Lowes with a load of material so I can get started on the drywall installation in my bedroom remodel.  Lowes should make me their official mascot for this particular store since I spent enough money here to drive their sales for the last four years.

I’m going to finish this bedroom and then I’m taking the summer off.  No hammers, nails, paint, or anything else.  I going to relax, take lots of photographs, visit distant lands (within Maine), and enjoy the warm weather and the beach.  That should clear my head enough to prepare me for next winters project. 

Someone help me, I’m trapped in Maine and I can’t get out.

01-28-2013   Leave a comment

Mother Nature just can’t or won’t leave us alone.  The early part of today was clear and really cold but livable. I  was able to have a few warm hours this morning after the sun came up and rapidly heated the house. I had a quick breakfast of tasty cinnamon buns homemade by my better-half which were excellent.  She’s been fine tuning her recipe for a week  and has finally found the magic.  A good hot cup of coffee with warm buns heated for a few seconds in the microwave, Yum!

She was off to work early as I prepared to do a bit of electrical rewiring in the room I’m remodeling.  I removed the existing ceiling insulation, drilled the appropriate holes in the joists, and replaced the box in the center of the ceiling with a reinforced box that will hold the weight of the fan slated to be installed there. This house in just over twenty years old and nothing is easy. As soon as you start any project it immediately turns into what can only be described as a huge pain in the ass. The builders seemed to have cut corners at every turn and now I have to try and fix things as they’re discovered.

The insulation was installed without a vapor barrier which is a no-no and it’s also so old that it’s easily torn.  What a freaking nightmare.  Before I can do much of anything else I’ll be forced to replace all of the insulation and then install a good vapor barrier which wasn’t included in my original budget for this project.  I’ve just had my project extended by a few days and a few hundred dollars which makes me really unhappy but not at all surprised.

I also removed an electrical outlet in the wall near the door that appeared dead.  Tracing the wires didn’t help much when after a half hour and fifteen feet later I discovered they weren’t attached to any thing. They’d been rolled up and shoved behind the insulation probably fifteen or twenty years ago.  Another little tweak of my nose by this freaking house.

After five hours I called it quits, sat down and enjoyed a good hot cup of coffee.  Then Mother Nature reared her ugly head once again and began to pour on the snow.  It was a light snow but it lasted for almost six hours.

The better-half made it home safely from work, we had a quiet meal, and kicked back for a while.  She’s scheduled early in the morning tomorrow so she headed off to bed early.  I donned my winter outfit and headed outside to clear the driveway of snow before retiring.  Thank God for that new snow thrower.  I cleared the driveway in rather short order just after 8:00 pm so the better-half wouldn’t have issues in the morning.

Now that she’s in bed I have a few minutes to read a couple of chapters.  I need to keep up with the adventures of Detective Eve Dallas, a NYC cop in the year 2056. 

The construction weather report looks grim for tomorrow.  I’m expecting a huge amount of aggravation, followed by a host of nicks and cuts, and the occasional  moments of intense profanity and general yelling. 

I love my life.

Posted January 29, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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01-09-2013   2 comments

I’m back in remodeling mode today but honestly my heart isn’t in it just yet.  I’m slowly but surely, a little at a time, collecting the materials I need to continue this room rebuild and maybe that will kick start my motivation.

I can tell the holidays are over when I find myself in Lowes looking for dry wall screws, joint tape, and a host of other things.  I’m so totally uninterested in doing this job I’m beginning to bore myself.  Lowes allows me to people watch a bit and while the people here are interesting I should probably stop at Walmart for the real deal.  I’ll just ride through their parking lot which should feed my raging addiction for large numbers of A-holes acting stupidly. Instead I’m on my way for a quick walk through at a wildlife area along the coast. I can trudge through a foot of snow, gather my thoughts, and possibly take a few photos.  The fresh air will hopefully do me some good.

Tra La La (This is time passing)

I’m back home with a few dozen photo’s, wet and freezing feet, and a better outlook on the day.  I just put in an hour or so of prep work on the room remodel by beginning to reframe the closet to match the one found in the master bedroom. I also decided where I’ll be placing the new electrical outlets on the walls and where the wire runs will go.  These are the many little things that need to be accomplished before the lumber and dry wall appears and the real labor begins.  I still have a lot of rewiring to accomplish because the idiot who built this place apparently let his three year old do the wiring.  The wires are improperly run, the boxes improperly placed, and a total lack of trying to meet any local code requirements.  Just a sub-par job from start to finish.  Oh no, my lack of interest is again rearing it’s ugly head so I’m packing it in for today. 

I find myself totally obsessed with the final Harry Potter novel, the Deadly Hallows, which is almost impossible for me to put down.  I won’t be able to finish it tonight but I’m sure to complete the entire story tomorrow.  It’s not often I get a book that grabs me the way this one has and it’s nice.  Total escapism of which I’m in dire need of right now. 

I still need to come up with a few dinner possibilities for us this evening.  My lack of interest has just magically expanded to include my food choices and just about everything else.  I’ll wait for my better-half to arrive and drop it all in her lap.  She likes to be in control of everything and I think I’ll let her.  My father would call this crappy attitude my “I don’t give a shit about anything” approach.  He never really appreciated it when I was a kid and I’m sure my better-half will feel the same now.

C’mon tomorrow.