Archive for the ‘remodeling’ Tag

06-10-2013   Leave a comment

I’ve been having some fun with lists for the last week but I think it’s time to step back into journal mode to update a few personal things.  With this continuing rain we’ve been having the garden has really taken off.  Last year when I planted my first rhubarb plant after three months it was approximately one foot high and I was really concerned that it wouldn’t make it through the winter.  As of yesterday that stupid plant is now over six feet high and going strong.  It looks like I’ll harvest enough seeds from it to plant a few more places around the property.  You just can’t have too much of that wonderful stuff around since this years current price is hovering around $3.80 a pound.  That s just highway robbery in my view so the more I grow the better.

Last weekend I spent a portion of Saturday doing the ceiling fan shuffle.  I installed a new sleeker model fan with a light kit in our bedroom and a matching fan without a light kit into the room I spent all winter remodeling.  The remodeled room is almost ninety percent furnished with nothing left to do except put a organizer system into the closet.  It looks freaking fabulous.  I then took the old fan from our bedroom and installed conveniently into my man cave directly above my computer desk.  That will make for a nice cool blogging summer.

Tonight we were invited  to my better-half’s daughter’s home for shish kabobs on the grill.  With the school year almost over she’s preparing for her first summer vacation with the new baby.  After teaching everyone else’s kids all year, she can now spend some quality time with her son. I see a lot of beach time in his immediate future which he will probably love.  We were able to catch up on things a little and enjoyed the meal and conversation immensely.  We made an early night of it and returned home with full bellies and smiles on our faces.  It was a very nice visit.

We’re do for what looks like two or three more days of rain which is always badly needed to keep the garden healthy.  That should give me enough time to continue work on a project I started more than a year ago.  I’ve been working off and on a somewhat strange abstract bust of my better-half  and I’m finally making some real progress on it since the room remodel was completed.  I recently finished the hair which was a tedious job and within a month I should have this project finally completed.

We’re having a really great start to the Spring and Summer and plans are already taking shape for a long weekend to the wilds of northern Maine to get into the woods and take as many pictures as necessary to fill every memory card we have.

We also have an obligatory two day trip to visit her family in Rhode Island which should be fun too.  This could actually turn into a rather nice summer barring any unplanned catastrophes.  We plan on enjoying it as much as we possibly can before the next long winter begins.  I might even be talked into a night at the amusement park in Old Orchard Beach.  You’re never too old to jump on a ride or two and have a little fun.

Enjoy your summer.

03-27-2013   2 comments

I’m a bit tired today after yesterday’s drywall work.  If you’re expecting anything spectacular on this blog today you’re sure to be disappointed.  I often hear people on their blogs complaining about writer’s block. I’ve never had that problem but I seem to be suffering from a block for which I have no name.  It could possibly be called an ‘artists block’ or a ‘remodeling block’, or even a ‘get-the-hell-out-of-bed block’.  I’m feeling like a big giant lump with no motivation to do anything except write about how lazy I’m feeling.  Which for the record is mighty effing lazy. At the same time my mind is racing and I’m visualizing work that still needs to be completed on the remodel tomorrow.

Unfortunately for me when I’m working any kind of project I’m consumed not just by the work that I’ll be doing but by constant mental activity that I can’t turn off. It can also make sleeping extremely difficult.  Even after having my better-half tell me to take the day off, I struggle.  I should be relaxing and enjoying my down time but for me there is no real down time.

She’ll be talking to me about work or family and if I’m lucky I may get every other word or just a general idea of what the subject matter is.  I suspect she thinks I’m getting forgetful but that isn’t the case at all.  It also isn’t that I don’t care or I’m not interested, I’m just focused on my tasks at hand almost 100%.  It’s totally out of my control for the most part and it’s something I’ve resigned myself to dealing with.

Even as a kid I was consumed by my painting, sculpting, reading, and once I started something I kept at it until it was completed.  Especially my art work.  I’d start a painting and would work around the clock with little or no food or drink until it was finished.   I love that feeling of being in the moment and just staying there as long as possible is a real pleasure for me. 

At times I have difficulty getting a project started and will procrastinate a little. It’s not that I don’t want to do the project, it’s because I know that once I start I probably won ‘t be able to stop.  You could be in the same room with me and during those times you cease to exist. Even my surroundings in the room become a blur except for the piece I’m working on.  It can be maddening when interruptions occur  and I lose my temper and become difficult. 

I thought in my younger days that this compulsion would lessen as I grew older but it has not.  It’s been both a blessing and a curse over the years but I’m certain I would miss it if for some reason it just disappeared. I guess I’ll do my best to relax today but both my better-half and I know what I’ll be thinking about.  Tomorrows project.

03-26-2013   Leave a comment

Another winter in Maine is finally taking it’s last freaking gasp and will soon be gone. I have only one thing to say to that, "Good-bye, Good Riddance, and Go Away".  In my opinion it’s overstayed it’s welcome by at least two weeks already.  It’s much like a house guest who stays too long causing you to start out liking them, then disliking them, and finally detesting them.

I’m sitting in bed refusing to get up and start another day with the same mind crunching routine which I’ve fallen into of late.  I first wake up slowly out of odd and strange dreams which usually amuse me, but not today. I make a bathroom pit stop, feed the cat, get my coffee, and return to the bed with my IPad.  As I begin writing I’m also thinking about my work list for the day and cringe a little.  After ten minutes I return to the kitchen for another cup of coffee and more visualization of the tasks ahead of me.

The room remodel has taken over my days but is much c.loser to completion than this time last week.  Ninety percent of the drywall has been installed with the final sheets in place by this coming Friday.  Then it’s a few days of sanding, priming,  painting, putting up the new fixtures, wall plugs, light switches and baseboards and then DONE.

In order to complete these kinds of projects you really must have the proper motivation or it could stall and never be completed.  That’s the job of my better-half. I’ve called her many things over the years but for right now she’s my motivator.  Part of her skill set is knowing just when to tweak my nose about things to restart my engines and then haughtily walk away pretending she doesn’t care in the least.  Some people might call that passive-aggressive, but not me. I call that motivation with a twist. For example I hear things like this, "Oh honey the room is really shaping up and the drywall looks amazing.  It always surprises me that you are able to do this work as well as you do. It looks like there’s a bit of a gap between those two sheets.  Is it supposed to be that wide? Will it make the drapes I just bought look like their hanging crooked? Don’t forget to fix that before we start painting."  And so it goes!

She has no subtlety at all.  She started a week ago arriving home from her shopping trips with questions about what furnishings would look best in the new room.  What kind of older, cool looking vanity she would purchase for her huge collection of makeup and lotions.  She dragged me out one day to just visit a few stores for an hour or so.   I ended up looking at throw rugs and other assorted furnishings for the new room.  She’s about as subtle as a hand grenade.

Regardless of all the gamesmanship the room will be completed at least two weeks ahead of schedule.  Hooray for me because I’ve been assured and promised there would be no more major projects until next Fall.  The translation of that promise is actually this, "Honey, I think the living room is looking too peachy. I’m really sick of that color and maybe we should change it out before any of the summer guests arrive.  What do you think?

Like I said, subtle!

03-10-2013   Leave a comment

Today I’ve just finished washing joint compound dust from my hair, hands, and clothing.  I love working with drywall not only because when finished it looks so good but that you don’t have to wait for days to see the results of your efforts.  Almost instant gratification that you normally can’t find too often.

I made a medium sized mess and was only working on finishing the interior of a small stupid closet.  I’m using this closet to reintroduce myself to drywall finishing.  It’s been a number of years since I last worked drywall and I’m trying to get my "touch" back.  Overall I was pleased with the initial results and this will surely give me enough confidence to complete this remodel to my satisfaction.   It’s just so damn messy and being a "neat freak" really doesn’t help.

The clocks have just "sprung forward" which almost always triggers my Spring Fever issues in a big way.  On top of that the temperature today was in the low fifties which is like tropical weather for Maine in March.  I know the chances of more snow and cold weather are likely but dammit this sure feels good.  If the wind had lessened just a bit I’d have made my way out onto the deck with the cat and enjoyed a few minutes of sunshine.

I made another trip to Lowe’s today for more supplies and a chance to get out of the house for an hour or so.  I think Spring Fever is affecting everyone.  I actually saw a guy wearing sandals and a pair of shorts.  He must be insane, it’s March for God’s sake.

The MDA volunteers were out in force and offering baked goods, smiles, and anything else that could get money from my wallet to their pocket.  I ask myself the same question every year.  How many hundreds of millions of dollars have been collected over the last twenty or so years for MDA?  You would think by now that research that well funded would have shown some results. I’m just enough of a cynic not to believe all the hype that’s put forward on that damn telethon and would like someone to tell me and show me how much of those millions actually reached the researchers. Until then I’ll support only local initiatives where strict accountability is easily measured.

My previously all gray cat just just pranced by with a dusty white stripe down his back. He must have been in the closet nosing around and picked up some dust.  He looks a little like Pepe Lepew from the old cartoon show. I suppose I’d better sweep the closet one more time and the cat as well.  He insists on getting his nose into everything but that OK because he has me to follow him around and clean up after him.

Posted March 11, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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03-02-2013   2 comments

It’s March finally and we’re well on our way to April.  Over the last few days it’s snowed twice more and made this one helluva Maine winter to remember.  I’m happy because snow cover is good for our perennials and herbs and offers perfect protection against the wind and cold air.  Last year we had very little snow that lasted for any length of time and the plants suffered. Almost forty percent of my herb garden was lost including many older plants that I’ve tended for years.  That noise you’re not hearing is me crossing my fingers.

The Maine aquifers are full and any threat of drought has been eliminated for the foreseeable future.  I’m hearing that the celebrations over at the Poland Spring bottling plant could last for weeks. This winter is not only great for their business but also for revenues of the towns where they buy water.

Today was a good day for me because I was able to sit on my ass and watch while my room remodel continued.  I finally wised up and hired someone to put down the new hardwood floor.  It was done quickly and expertly and looks incredible and I didn’t spill a drop of wine in the process.  Life is good sometimes.  I actually was hoping it would take more than one day to do so I could loaf for a while longer.  Because of the installers efficiency I’ll now be forced into beginning the dry wall installation.  Another good plan foiled.

I’m sitting here listening to the Maine winter body count on the radio.  Another three snowmobiler’s dead.  They attempted to cross a partially frozen lake and went down with the ship.  It was announced that the search for their bodies has been postponed until spring when the ice melts.  What a terrible way to die.

For those of you living in warmer climates you need to understand that there are probably more snowmobiles in this state than people.  We have areas up north that are snowmobile superhighways requiring places where you can stop and eat and even occasional police patrols to enforce the speed limits.  You can travel for miles and miles and never see a road or even the ground.  I’ve sat at one of the hundreds of snowmobile crossings in this state while thirty or forty snowmobiles rode by.  Husbands, wives, kids, and even a pet of two.  It’s really amazing to watch.

With that many people out and about on them and the large number of lakes in the state it’s just inevitable that fatal accidents will happen.  Sympathies to the families for sure but  more Maine winter casualties can be expected and will almost certainly occur.  It’s a grim fact of life here in snow country.

I  can smell some really excellent pizza cooking and my glass of wine is almost empty.  That’s a Maine winter emergency I can do something about.  More snow expected is through the night tonight and another winter wonderland in the morning. Hooray!

02-18-2013   Leave a comment

I decided that today would be my day of rest and relaxation.  I’ve spent most of the last week continuing my bedroom remodeling project.  The electrical has been rewired, Check! The insulation has been repaired, replaced, and a vapor barrier installed, Check!  The new framing for the closet and bedroom entry way has been completed, Check!  The room as been cleaned to within an inch of it’s life, Check! Most of the tools and excess materials have been removed, Check!  And last but not least, I’m just sick of working on it, Double Check! I’ve decided that after I hang the drywall over the next couple of weeks I’m done.  It’s time to call in the professionals to install the hardwood floor and the rest of the finish work.

Today is for vegging, reading, loafing, and doing huge amounts of nothing. The better-half has a day off and will be on a shopping safari with her daughter for a quite a while.  What does that mean? It means peace and quiet for a few hours. No loud annoying C & W music, no banging and clanging of pots in the kitchen, and no repeated requests for help. Just a good book, a comfy chair, and a freshly brewed cup of hot coffee. . . .

It’s later now and I’m pleased that I was able to read almost a hundred pages of my book without interruption.  The cat gave up trying to get my attention about an hour ago and has found a soft spot on the couch across the room to crash. Every so often he opens one eye to make sure I’m still there but I think he’s beginning to understand it’s his day off as well. . . .

Darkness has now fallen and my better-half has returned with a medium size load of purchases.  I’ve been officially granted limited access to her woman-cave this evening to construct a chair she recently purchased.  She claims it’s a chair that will be kept there just for me to use during my occasional visits.  I get that old feeling she’s telling me what she thinks I want to hear to get the job done.  Maybe I’m being a little cynical but I’m not really offended.  I just count my blessings that I’m permitted to visit the place at all.  It’s like being offered a private visit to Disneyland. . . .

The chair is now built and we’re having a drink to celebrate. We’re discussing current events and any other meaningless things we can think of.  The lasagna is cooking, the drinks are cold, the chair is easy on my backside, and life is good.  I guess I’m just easy to please at times.

We decided to watch a movie before retiring for the night and as usual within twenty minutes I’m watching the movie and she’s lightly snoring on the couch.  I’ll wait a while before I wake her which shouldn’t be too long because this movie, Beowulf, is one of the worse things I’ve ever seen.  I’d rather be getting my teeth drilled  than watch anymore of it. Just freaking awful.

I guess there’s no such thing as a perfect day so I’ll take what I can get. I’ve learned over the years to enjoy the good, try to ignore the bad, and keep on moving on.

Posted February 19, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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02-15-2013   2 comments

I feel so blessed today.  In less than two weeks I survived the Storm of the Century and then almost immediately I survived that asteroid that just missed us.  I’m a bit of a science nerd and will read anything remotely related to NASA or space travel.  I was certainly intrigued when the announcement was made a few weeks ago that an object of this size would do the closest   fly-by of the earth ever recorded.

I know just enough about our government and it’s propaganda arm to be a little concerned and skeptical when they say there was no chance of a collision.  In my opinion if they were aware that a collision was imminent they wouldn’t tell us anyway.  Anarchy and panic would certainly occur if that kind of an announcement were ever made.

So I sat patiently before my TV watching the asteroid live and in black and white as it zoomed on by almost directly over Indonesia. The NASA channel in it’s continuously boring fashion with absolutely no sound and with unrecognizable pictures did nothing to put my mind at ease.  After the meteor strikes over Russia the previous day I wasn’t completely convinced we had nothing to worry about.

I suppose the day will arrive eventually when a huge one will hit us and I pray it’s thousands of years from now when technology will hopefully make it a non-problem.  I’m not sure about many things but I’m reasonably confident that it will occur someday.  I sure hope I’m not around to see it.

Enough about the damn asteroid.  How about hearing some completely boring and useless information about my returning again to my remodeling project. I finally reframed the new opening that will eventually lead into my bedroom and I left the drywall intact to keep the dirt and dust from filling the rest of the house. One more bit of framing on the closet and I’ll be ready to begin hanging dry wall.  I’ve been taking my time with this damn project but I’m still ahead of the schedule I set for myself.  I just wish working with drywall wasn’t so messy.  I spend more time cleaning up than actually constructing anything.

I also spent a couple of hours going through a few hundred photographs taken during the last snow storm.  Some of them are very cool especially those showing my better-half on her maiden voyage with that big red snow thrower. I caught that look of sheer panic on her face as she began and later the big smile on her face as she conquered her fears and really started enjoying herself.  Pretty damn cool if I do say so myself.  I used the first photo as my new screensaver because it makes me smile every time I see it.

We’re having visitors tonight with one of them being the new grand child.  Eat dinner, a few games of Hearts, and some quality time with the little guy. Not too bad at all.

Posted February 16, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying, Useless Crap

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02-02-2013   Leave a comment

And a big Happy Groundhog Day to you all. I almost decided to wear my full body gopher costume for the day but my better-half put her foot down. She refused to allow me to leave the house dressed like that.  She told me in no uncertain terms that I’d just have to be happy with what I wrote yesterday.  She can be such a buzz kill at times.

So instead I resumed my remodeling project and worked at it for most of the day. All of the electrical has been rerouted, installed and working as expected.  The insulation has been replaced with care and repaired in certain spots as well. The new vapor barrier has been installed and finally allows me to get on with the reframing of the closet and the new opening into my bedroom.  I’m still on schedule with final completion slated for sometime in late April. 

My Harry Potter obsession seems to be winding down. In the  the last two months I’ve read all of the books and seen all of the movies and it’s been a great undertaking.  All that remains now is the two X-box LEGO Harry Potter games which are sure to be difficult and time consuming.  I’ll probably be working on those two games well into the Fall but as with all obsessions I can’t wait to get started.

I surprised my better-half this afternoon with a Ground Hog Day night on the town in Portland.  There’s nothing less exciting than a night on the town on a cold February night in Portland, ME.  Luck was with us when surprise, surprise we found a decent parking spot  almost immediately. Anyone who lives here knows what a miracle that was. We made our way down Commercial street to the Dry Dock bar, tavern, and meeting place for all those people terribly bored with the winter weather. The second surprise was an extremely nice and competent waitress which doesn’t happen all that often either. Surprise number three, the food.  Without question this was the best little meal I can ever remember having.  It was three plates of appetizers with each one more delicious than the last.  Pork Wings followed by Crab Rangoon followed by hot and spicy Chicken Wings. Add to that a decent glass of Cabernet for me and a Shipyard beer for the better-half and you’ve got a great night going on. The place was an old building with the classic store front windows where you can sit and watch the world go by.  You can bet we’ll be returning here often.

We returned home for some quiet time and if my luck holds I’ll be chasing my better-half around the house until she lets me catch her.  As always it’s all about the chase.

Have a great weekend chasing whoever it is you chase.

11-05-12   2 comments

A few cups of coffee, an hour on the computer, and then back to the serious work of remodeling our spare room. I’m in the process of combining our master bedroom with an adjacent unused room and I’ve pretty much gutted the room to include removal of all the drywall from the walls and ceiling. I’ve pulled up and removed the carpeting and pads and removed the old electrical outlets and switches. Thank god it’s not a huge room but its still a lot of work and preparation.

Today I’m beginning to rewire some of the outlets and taking measurements for the laminate flooring. Small but important steps in the process. Next week Ill be reframing the closet and deciding how much of the wall to remove to make the new opening into our bedroom. Good old Lowe’s delivered the new drywall and studs last week and I’m almost ready to get serious about this project. I’m  tempted to just call a contractor but my better half insists I do some of the heavy lifting. She’s just so frugal at times it makes me crazy.

I stayed up a little too late last night reading book number one of the Harry Potter series. I was surprised how closely the movie followed the story line but there were a few things in it that were edited out of the movie. Hagrid in the movie came across much differently than in the book. He was a big loveable hulk in the movie but was portrayed as something of a loser in the book. It’s those subtle little things that allows books to remain true to the authors original story. Hollywood has a way of editing stories in a lot of little ways that can sometimes change the entire story. I’ll stick to my books thank you very much. Unfortunately I got so caught up in the story I lost track of time and the next thing I know it was one o’clock. Obviously I need all the beauty sleep I can get so off to bed I went.

As I walked into the bathroom this morning the mirror was very unkind to me. I looked like “forty mile of bad road” and felt just about that good. I’m still tired as hell but I’m up and finally motivating.

My better-half is working today and has meetings scheduled well into the late afternoon. I can finish my tasks and still have time for a hour or two with my camera along the coast somewhere north of here.

Back to work. No more procrastinating

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