Weekend update. Well, and update on my weekend, anyway. I got home from work and relaxed while Mariah drove her way up to my house. We were going to see Cut Copy at Stubb's. I brought along a folding chair for Mariah, since she has been having some knee trouble recently. When we got to the entrance, the C3 presents guy told us we couldn't bring a chair in. Mariah informed him of her condition and he said, "talk to James over there, he'll put you in the VIP area". So we did, and he did. We got into VIP area in a sold-out show!
Matt and Kim were really fun. I haven't seen a drummer smile that much since watching Taylor Hawkins drum for the Foo Fighters at ACL last year. It was crazy being so close and not having an army of people crushing you into the barriers. Truthfully, I enjoy the heat and energy you feel from being in a crowd but, it was pretty nice to sit down while while both bands rocked us out. Maybe I'm getting old...
Cut Copy had a real synth-pop appeal. It's a real treat to listen to a band that just now has enough material to play live. As an avid listener, you won't be disappointed when they don't play the track you liked the most off the new album. This is especially the case at Stubb's, since noise ordinances force bands off the stage at 11:00 (thanks to the nearby condos which Stubb's pre-dates).
Mariah! I was wrong. You sent out an e-mail to me on February 28th about Cut Copy, so I had plenty of time to listen to their music before the concert. Sorry.
Saturday morning brought me to Walnut Creek where I mountain biked from 10:20 to almost noon. Again, I was elected leader, since I had been to the park more than most of the people there. The guys following me were strong riders so, I pushed myself hard. Too hard at some points but, I only gassed out badly one time. I texted Tobin and Jared but, I found out the message didn't leave my outbox when I got back to the car. Turns out Jared was out of town and, Tobin was focusing on a video editing project, so it was all right that the message never got to them.
That afternoon I went to Staple! the Independent Media Expo where I met a whole host of artists (only half as many as I was hoping to, because of time constraints) from which I bought a moderately sized stack of comics. It was fun learning about their different projects. I saw a few artists that I wish I'd had time to talk with for a bit like
Man, I really wanted to buy some original art from Stan while I was there, as it was the one thing that I regretted not buying last year at Comic-Con. Walked out of Staple! with regrets too, I guess. I'll see Stan again at Comic-Con this year, so I'll make it a point to get something cool from him in July.
I did get to sit front row at Stan's Q and A session which was amazing. I brought in my Usagi Yojimbo Cardboard Standee which would have been impossible to lug to San Diego this year. I tried to lean it up against the stage and the MC (who was going to pass the mike for questions) said that he would be walking in this space and it might get kicked. So he suggested that I put it up on the stage. When Stan saw it, he asked me if I wanted him to sign it. I said "YES!", and as the MC brought it up to him, I said he could stand it up next to him during the Q and A session. As he signed it, he said "Wow, this one's been used", which was obvious from the few bends in the cardboard and some sun bleaching.
I tried to find a picture from a blog or something of the event, since I didn't snap one from where I was sitting. From my angle, there was a microphone covering Stan's face.
Directly after Staple! I went down the street to see Watchmen with Bo, Cory and Betty at the Highland Galaxy theater (because they have DLP projectors). The movie was great, even for a fan of the comic book. Sure, there were compromises in the translation and edits due to time constraints but, this has to be the best comic to movie translation since Sin City. To be fair, I haven't read the comic since 1991 so I could be missing the most irritating changes. I thought the treatment of Rorschach and the selection of actor (and Jackie Haley's performance) was absolutely spot-on. It was particularly cool to see the slightest details replicated from the graphic novel, such as the broken passant on the shoulder of Rorschach's trench coat.
Sunday morning was a little later than I had hoped since an extra hour had slipped away from me during the night. I started the day in the planning on spending the morning back yard, putting in the edging around the planting beds. When I got out there, I found the back yard covered in leaves, so Amy and I worked until noon raking, mowing (and catching) and sucking up leaves. Ended up with 6 or 7 bags to put out on the curb on Wednesday. Hope it doesn't rain.
Once that work was done, I dug a trench for 40 feet of the edging to go into. I should be able to dedicate a few more hours to that work this week before Amy and I go to the Nursery on Thursday morning and pick up the plants that are missing from the layout that I paid for towards the end of last year. While I'm in Chicago this weekend, Amy should have time to put the plants in place and see if the arrangement looks good.
Cory dropped by and gave me a HUGE assist on the upstairs bathroom. We exchanged ideas on the tile and got started on moving the switches and outlet that were installed too low and would interfere with the wainscoting that was planned afterwards. This re-enforced the point "plan, then execute otherwise... re-work". Thanks for the help Cory! Now the upstairs bathroom is a little closer to done AND a little less dangerous.
As you can see, the walls are now installed in my upstairs bathroom. Cory and I worked from 4:30 to 9:30 cutting fiber-rock down to size and covering up all the gaps. Cory did the shower cubbies himself, and helped me size and fit all the remaining pieces. The next step (for Cory anyway) is wiring. which will be a bitch. The switches in the bathroom are a nexus for some 10 or 12 wires. Until that's done, I will be planning out the tile. I'm feeling pretty good right now, like I really accomplished something. I even put the tools away on the back porch that were out there for the past month. Tomorrow, I'll put away all tools on the landing (leaving only the pile of slate tiles) and put the fiber rock scraps up on craigslist.
In other news, I just switched my BlackBerry curve out for a BlackBerry Storm (the touch screen one). I havn't completely moved in to it yet but, when I do I'll write up a review.
I started the morning at 7:30 when my alarm went off, since I forgot to turn it off last night. I couldn't get back to sleep since I was thinking about all the stuff I wanted to do today. I sat in bed and read "The Push Man and Other Stories" by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and I finished "Scott Pilgrim 4" Bryan Lee O'Malley.
Then I measured the bathroom to fit all of the cementatious board in which will finish off the next stage of the bathroom. However, I didn't have enough board to finish the job so, I went to Lowes. Unfortunately the board they sell at Lowes is 1/8" thinner than the stuff I have. Even worse, Cory pointed it out half way through a cut.
So, Matt, Cory and I went to Hula Hut for some beer and margaritas (I drank the beers). On the way back, we went to pick up the right board.
I spent the rest of the afternoon measuring and cutting. I didn't get done, though. I got stuck when I couldn't find my paddle bits. I'll do a little more tomorrow.
Matt's in Barcelona, just now waking up and getting ready to explore Spain. He will be moving in on the weekend of the 26th so, I decided that the upstairs bathroom should be rebuilt before his arrival. This way, Amy can live in the master bedroom and not have to share the bathroom with Matt and me (girls are funny like that). So, we started by tearing out the floor and the parts of the walls where the slate is going to be installed. After this picture was taken, the bathtub surround was removed as well. Cory started by planing down the joists so the new flooring can be installed and match up with the existing floor. Over the last few days, he and I have been adding reinforcement between the joists to provide a stable (and squeak-free) platform for the 3/2" treated plywood, cement board, mud and slate tiles (also known as a FSS). Hopefully we'll have all the work done by Matt moves in.
Unfortunately, the weekend that Matt will be moving in I will be in San Diego at the Comic Con. Well... not sooo unfortunate. For me.
I wanted to get the pictures on the website, so I neglected to blog about it this weekend but, Cory and I tore out the floor and most of the walls in the upstairs bathroom. The floor was old and creaky and the plywood was too tall to install the slate on the floor so it would match up to the flooring on the landing. So, Cory and I pulled it all out.
Where the slate will be installed, the sheetrock needs to be replaced with a sturdier wall board (like hardi-backer). So, Cory and I pulled all that out too.
It's an ambitious project that needs to be completed by the time Matt moves in at the end of July.
What a week! Hung out with Jenn and her sister on Monday (5 of May), Mariah dropped by while Cory and I worked on the last French door on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Cory and I put more work into the French door.
Now I can see out to the old pecan tree (in desperate need of pruning). Looking out through my new backyard exit, I'm really able to envision the deck, table, lighting, fence, and (possibly) a swing.
In response to a recent comment by Duffy: I could have looked around for an old suspended fork for my Cannondale but, even a NOS (new old stock) part would be shot by now. They have a limited shelf life and a used one would be used up.
With the advice of Jared, I purchased this bike (Scattante SixSixty) from Performance Bicycle on Saturday. I rushed into the decision but, I'm very happy with the results. On Sunday, Jared, Christine and I spent over 2 1/2 hours riding all around Austin for almost 28 miles. During the ride we had to stop for Christine's bike, since her rear tire deflated. We didn't complete the intended route, nor did we travel as far as we were planning but, I think Christine and I did good for a first time out on road bikes. Even more impressive that Christine had just finished a 5K the day before. I think I'll get a lot of use out of this bike.
On the remodeling front, Cory and I installed the shelf that the final french door will attach to. To do this, we had to cut out the siding away and chip away at some of the foundation to provide a smooth surface for the shelf to attach to. When the last board of siding was cut away, I got and idea of how much airflow and light would come from the west side of the house. I hope we'll be able to get the door in place this week.
This next weekend, Amy and Breck will be moving to Austin from Dallas. Into my house, to be precise. This will be a big lifestyle change for me since I have been living without a roommate since Bunnith moved out (and without anyone living with me since the end of last year) and without any animals since 2005.
Well Matt, the ceiling in the living room will be the project that I tackle last. As I've explained to a few people, my plan is to vault the ceiling. In it's current configuration, the shape of the roof and ceiling essentially an isosceles triangle.
A triangle is a very stable structure but, if the longest side (or hypotenuse) were removed, the roof would sag or perhaps collapse under it's own weight. So, what is required is building a scissor truss to provide the rigidity that the wood making up the hypotenuse currently provides. Once this is completed, I'll have enough room to install insulation, as well as have at least 2 inches of air gap that will provide circulation in the attic. This should provide a vault of about 2 feet or so.
I think the next projects (in order) are, french door (3rd and final), door into the garage, tree trimming, fence, deck, upstairs bathroom, kitchen, laundry room (including changing out the water heater), AC (which may require a new unit and be a huge f'n mess), stairs, master bedroom closet, and master bathroom.
I think then I could focus on the living room, vault the ceiling, cut back the fireplace, and install all the multimedia wiring (speakers, cable, audio, etc...). After that, I can re-texture the walls downstairs and paint the interior. Somewhere in there, I may have the exterior painted but, I need some help matching up all the colors that I can't change outside (brick, windows, door trim, roofing). Crap! That's a lot of work.
Thanks Bill, it's good to be back in the sports car club. In fact, I got my car just in time to make it to the Capital Z of Texas club meeting last night. Joining this club completes my Z club hat trick. I have previously been a member of the Z Club of Texas (Dallas), when I was driving a busted down 75' 280z that was slated to be my sister's car but, ended up being too much of a maintance problem for her to handle. Then, when I moved to Houston, I joined the
Z Club of Houston. I had purchaced a 73' 240z from Arizona. You can read some of it's history on Z car blog. So now, I own both the 73' and a 05' 350z and am a card carrying member of Capital Z of Texas (I even got a t-shirt).
As for you're second question, YES! I'm going to bust a hole in the wall, opposite the recently installed French door (right), hopefully starting this afternoon.
In this picture, Cory is adjusting the frame, so the door closes properly. Unfortunately, my stupid HP R697 camera lost all of the pictures up to the last day of the install. I had it perched on my tripod so the whole process from removing the old door to putting on the trim could be watched in sequence. Fortunately, Mariah brought her Canon EOS and took pictures the first day. Once I get her pictures (and my shit together) I'll put up a gallery of the images.
There are still a few things that need to be done to complete this install. One can be done fairly quickly (extension jambs) but, the other will wait until I'm ready to trim out the interior of the downstairs. I have not selected trim for the doors throughout the house. That decision won't be made until all the walls are sanded, and new texture is applied. However, this won't occur until a few more projects are completed (upstairs bathroom, wall reconfiguration in the master, decisions around AC resolved).
On Tuesday, my Dad flew out to Louisville, Kentucky and picked up my Z in the pouring rain. Apparently, the rain continued for the entire trip. Ray drove non-stop back to Dallas, stopping only to re-fuel and for a short 45 minute nap in Arkansas.
It seems for the entire week, Cory and I were finishing up work on the french doors. By Thursday we began organizing the house and preparing for the party.
Amy tried to recruit two of her friends to drive down for the party but, both were busy. She ended up coming down on Friday while Cory and I were fully submerged in preparing for the party. Amy showed up around 1:00 but, we were all so caught up in housework and the party that I didn't really get to drive my car until Sunday.
Now the Z is here, and I'm happy that I don't have to use the truck as a daily driver anymore. Now it can be sidelined for some much needed repairs.
Last week was a blast. It was spring break, so most of my office was out on vacation. This allowed me to work from home and stay off my ankle. Once the work week was (essentially) over, I did a lot of concert hopping for SXSW. On Monday, Matt came into town to hang for a few days. So Tuesday night, I met Matt at Opal Divines on West 6th and we bar hopped all the way to the beauty bar where
The Mercers played. Of course, since this was a SXSW show, they were on a short time schedule so they didn't play long. I can't wait until the guys get into the studio and put the songs that they are playing live onto a album. At the end of our route we met up with
The next day, Matt left for home. I worked from home again. At the end of the day, Cory and I went over to Mariah's for some drinks on the patio. On Friday I took a half day, saw The Mercers at the show at Antoine's and caught back up with Todd. By Saturday, I was pretty burnt but, I still managed to get out to Waterloo park where Cory and I met up with Marilyn and I got actually burnt on my neck. Later, we met up with Marilyn's friend Laurie and I went to one last SXSW show at the Lucky Lounge for some good rock and free drinks (until the free drinks ran out).
By Sunday, I was ready to put some work in on the house. So, Cory and I attempted to finish up the first French door install. The trim went in beautifully with very little trouble but, the extension jambs (which are required on an out swing door, since the frame sits a few inches outside of the house) had to be cut at strange angles to match the sheetrock on the inside. All that's left to do is caulk the trim, fill the voids with low-expanding foam and select and install the trim for all the doors in the house. The selection of the interior trim will have to wait until the walls and ceilings are prepared for painting. I'll post pictures once I bring in my camera.
I had a really kick ass, and ass kicking weekend. Starting on Friday with the State Radio concert. I invited many but, only Mariah showed up. It was a much better show than the myspace page lead us to believe. Not folk-sie at all. There were some heavy reggae influences and some loud, hard rocking guitar. One thing of note, when the guitar rocked the audience into throwing up their hands, there was a sea of black Xs. I realized that most of the people there were much younger than I. Aw, well I guess I still rock.
On Saturday morning, even after staying up late, I went out to Walnut Creek to do some biking. After 7 miles, I realized I needed to book it home to get ready for the Staple convention. The convention was fun, although I would have spent much more time there if given the choice. Once that was over, Cory and I started work on the french door again. We started by cleaning out the garage of some stuff that I recently figured I can do without. I filled up the back of the truck with goodwill donations and metal to be recycled. It got too dark to continue work but, we were done clearing a spot in the garage to start work on Saturday.
So, Cory and I met Jen, Martha, Brandon, Christine, Mark, Mariah, Cliff, and Morgan down at Fado's for a few beers which ended up taking up the rest of the night.
So, the next morning, I woke up early again and did some road biking with Christine. We had ridden all the way down to the campus when, seemingly for no reason, I wrecked my bike into the pavement. Since I was clipped into the bike, my left ankle was mildly hyper-extended. I was able to stand and walk, and even ride back.
When I got back to the house, I joined Cory, Bo and Betty for lunch. I had already planned on going out to play disc golf a Pease Park with Rachel, so I left Cory to move the circular saw into the garage.
When I got back, Cory was already cutting a piece of pressure treated lumber to be used as a base for the part of the french doors that hangs off the slab. I noticed that my foot had swollen up pretty bad from walking around and playing DG for a few hours. I wasn't really able to walk very well but, I really wanted to make some headway with the French doors.
So, I decided to re-use the redwood that Cory and I pulled from the living room ceiling (left) to create some new trim that will be installed around the outside of the door. I had thought up the style earlier in the week to match with the straight lines of the house. Cory used my technical drawings that I derived from my design idea and how it would actually work when attached to the studs and the frame of the door. The existing patio door (not the slider) had some planks and a spacer nailed onto the face of the frame and over the top of the wood that looked terrible. It was 4.5 inches wide and reminded Bo of a BBQ restaurant. So, I my idea was three steps on a board that was only 3 inches wide. Here's a closeup of the prototype peice that Cory built with the table saw.
Oh the doors you'll install. I'm sure my readers are getting bored with all the home remodeling entries I've put up lately. Well, too bad. Here's another one.
When I got home from work at 5:30, Cory had already fixed all the problems with the door. The frame was straight, the gap between the doors even and much smaller AND he cut away the part of the patio cover that was interfering with the swing of the door. So, all that was left was to install the door knob, move the lock (I put it in on the lower hole for some reason), and install the door alarm hardware. Really that wasn't much stuff to do, Cory did all the hard work. So, now we need figure out how to trim out the door on the outside and what kind of trim will be used on the inside, then we can caulk and foam it all up to weatherproof it and move on to the next door this weekend.
Also, I got the payout for my car yesterday and promptly put it in the bank. I'm still, as nice as they are, I'm not considering a Corvette for my next car (sorry, Bill and Russ).
Oh, I ate an onion that's really burning my tongue, and it's been almost 3 hours since I ate it. Bleh!
On Monday, we got back onto the door install project by purchasing a hammer drill, larger concrete screws, and a matching bit. Once again, having the right tool for the job is a really good feeling. Where before, we were drilling into stones took forever to drill though (with the added bonus of fragging the bits), we were now punching through them. What power!
The pressure treated board was now acting as a sill plate for the bottom of the door to rest on. So, we hoisted the door into place and it barely fit into the rough opening. In fact, there was little to no clearance on the top of the door frame and some of the wood siding that we neglected to cut away was pushing on the sides of the frame, pushing the doors out of alignment.
So, we cut on the siding, leaned the door back out and put caulk on the bottom of the door, creating a tight seal that weather and bugs will not penetrate. I figured the rest of the project should be easy, since it's just a matter of making the door frame parallel with the earth, which aligns the doors as they were built from the factory, which should make them swing and shut easily.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. Due to our inexperience, we ended up screwing the frame too tightly to the studs (house) and pulling the frame apart unevenly, which made the doors too far apart at the bottom than at the top. So, now the doors would not close evenly. After messing with it for a while, we decided to give up for the night. So, I quickly installed a deadbolt and the locking pin for the inactive door to secure the door for the night.
We blew off the project on Tuesday because we needed a break. I was only intending on getting a beer with Mariah at the Flying Saucer but, we ended up staying until the trivia started. Even though Mariah ditched us for some free food in Round Rock, Cory and I decoded to form a team. We got stumped on quite a few questions and were never mentioned as the MC called out the teams by points. Bad night for trivia, good night for beer and brats.
The last two days Cory and I have been installing a french door in my master bedroom. Cory had installed single doors before and I have seen door installations on home improvement shows but, it didn't happen as quickly as either of us anticipated.
On Saturday, we pulled out the original sliding door to see what we were working with. The size of the
rough opening was almost a foot too small for the new door so, we had to make a decision on which way to cut away at the wall to make the opening larger. Since the left side of the opening was smaller than the right, I decided we should cut right.
Of course, the first thing we had to do was move the light switch further right. So, I cut a new hole for the light switch, while Cory cut away the studs to expand the opening. We pulled out all the wires from the existing j-box and moved them to the new location by pushing them behind and through the insulation and rewired them.
Cory and I studied the problem for a few minutes and figured we needed to buy lumber to replace the studs we removed (they were eaten up by termites), and, that it would be easier to fit the door in the opening if we could shave down the thickness of the wood. So, we went to Lowe's and bought 8 2X4's and a single pressure treated 2X4 and a planer. It was pretty satisfying having the right tool for the job.
After cutting away some of the siding, and putting back the jack studs in the right position, it was time to figure out where the door was going to sit. The slab had a notch in it for some reason so, since we would have to notch the slab for the other two doors we were going to install, we had to fill in the notch. Que the pressure treated 2X4. Well, it turns out, we really needed to get a 1X2 to get the job done right but, I don't remember when we went to get that board.
I started to drill holes in the concrete to sink screws which would hold the board in place. Once the holes were drilled, we laid down a thick blanket of caulk (to keep the weather and bugs out) and put the board into place. Cory put in the first screw but, as it got close to cinching down the board, the head snapped off of it. Then the second screw did the same thing. Then another, and another. We were out of screws, and none of them went to the bottom of the holes!
Apparently, the holes were either not drilled deep enough, or the aggregate in the cement (which makes up the concrete) would not let the screws spin though them. Either way, that was the end of the project for Saturday.
Sorry everyone, I felt so guilty about not blogging all week, I went back and reto-blogged this entry. I'll put in another one today (Wednesday) and catch everyone up on the project as well as some other stuff that happened over the weekend (like Bill showing up and hanging out).
I'm not sure why but, the last few weeks there hasn't been much work done on the house. The upstairs is almost done except for the bathroom. Before Amy left, she chipped and removed all the tile on the floor and I have to say, plywood is not a good finished floor material. This plywood soaks up the moisture that a bathroom creates. The portion under the toilet in new plywood, which seems to indicate what actually happened to the wall in the entry room, and why it's covered over with two giant mirrors. Well, finally something big happened. The windows that I had custom built were installed yesterday. I couldn't be there at 11:00, so I got Jen to hang out at the house and let them in. It didn't take that long, and I really like the results. The color of the frame works great on the inside of the house and against the brick but, you can see from the last two pictures that it's a little light for the siding. I was planning on painting the house before the end of the year, and this definitely narrows down the color choices.
Over the weekend I bought the backbone to my home network and I'm ready to connect all the wires that have been dangling in the back of my hallway closet. Unfortunately, the closet is full of junk and Amy's closet overflow so, I've got to find a place for that before I can really start the install. I'm looking forward to seeing all the wiring work pay off. I will still need to pull a few more wires and make some splits to the cable in the attic to get everything working right.
I burned off work a little early to get the last bit of flooring done upstairs so we could move on to baseboards and touch-up paint. On my way home, Christine calls me about a water leak asking me if she should call a plumber. After a short conversation, I told her to call someone. I deposited a check and grabbed an Arbys sandwich and got home, just as Amy and Christine were inside, taking a break.
The planting bed had been overturned and next to the front door I could see the pipe. I figured it had been split or otherwise damaged with a shovel, but it was just disconnected. Christine and Amy went back to digging up the damaged area so the repairs could be completed. When Cory arrived, he told be to call off the plumber and began work on reconnecting the pipe. While he worked, I took advantage of the water being turned off and installed the new nipples and water cocks in the upstairs bathroom. They were previously blocked off from when we removed the old sink to re-texture and paint the walls.
He had nearly completed the repair downstairs when I pulled the old nipple, along with the 90 degree pipe out of the wall from behind the toilet. The threaded portion of the 90 was so corroded that it bent the pipe and broke the solder connection to the 1/2" wall pipe. This meant that we would have to cut out the wall behind the toilet so Cory could get access to re-solder the pipe.
Cutting on the newly re-textured and painted wall board was not something that I wanted to be doing at this point. The sheet rock had pulled away from the wood that it was nailed to and was brittle and damaged behind the fresh paint. Much of it crumbled as I cut it out. We had originally scrapped the idea of putting tile on the wall behind the toilet but, now it will be unavoidable.
By the end, much work had been completed but, not the work that I was anticipating. Maybe today will go a little better.
Last night Cory and I finished up the flooring in the front bedroom (which is currently Amy's room), and pushed halfway into the back bedroom (which will be known as the office). In retrospect, Cory thought that we did too much. On waking up this morning, I would tend to agree. I didn't get much sleep, and my arms really hurt from pulling planks into place and "power taping" them (a technique that keeps the freshly glued planks from drifting away from one another). This is a technique that we discovered in the first few days of putting down wood flooring downstairs. Gaps were opening up before the glue had a chance to dry because of the shape of the sub floor. We also discovered scrap planks can be pressed up against the leading edge of the newly laid down floor and screwed into place, keeping any gaps from opening up as the glue drys.
Even after experiencing all of the hardships and cost of working with glue ($100 a bucket) I don't think that I would consider the use of nails, or installing a "floating floor". The sound that wood makes when an air gap exists between the planks and the sub floor is very loud and annoying. I'm very happy with the sound deadening work that was put into the sub floor upstairs. I am still considering adding acoustical cotton insulation between the floor joists to further increase the STC* and IIC* of the flooring as long as the insulation can be installed from below.
*STC (Sound Transmission Class) is a measurement that indicates how much noise is stopped (absorbed) by the wall or floor ceiling assembly. (airborne or voice noise) *IIC (Impact Insulation Class) is a measurement that indicates how much impact noise is stopped in a floor/ceiling assembly. Note: STC and IIC are logarithmic, like the Richter scale. Each 10 points represents a doubling of the noise reduction capacity of an assembly.
This last weekend, Dean, Matt and Melanie came into town to visit. Melanie rolled in for her first triathlon, which (I'm happy to say) was a success! Congratulations!
Well, we didn't get a chance to get the floors down before everyone came into town but, they had beds to sleep in and a working shower and toilet. However, since the door to the bathroom did not have the second coat of paint on it, I left it in the closet and opted for a curtain across the doorway. The lack of privacy forced Dean to head to McDonald's across the street for his 9:00 "meeting". Sorry guys, it will be much better next time around.
On Sunday afternoon, my sister Amy moved in. I figured she would continue working for the next week or so but, she was apparently as fed up with Houston as I was towards the end. (Note: I was fed up with the humidity and distance from my other friends and family in Austin and Dallas, not with my friends who currently live there.)
So, this week we're planning on buying the slate and laying down the floors. Hopefully we'll be able to call the upstairs "done" in the next three weeks or so. This won't include many "bonus projects" like installing the new closet, or putting in a built in shelving unit between the closet and the door.
Last night Cory and I rushed to prepare the upstairs for Carlos, the Patch Master, to come by and sand, tape and float the walls for new texture on Sunday. I called Carlos this morning to see when he was coming, and it turns out, he isn't. I'm a bit disappointed becuase the work we did kept us up until 1:00 this morning. It does give me time to take picture of the upstairs in it's current state.
Last night we returned Trixie to Brian, Jasmine, and Atticus. Atticus was sleeping so we didn't get much time to get to know this new person but, he's tiny and cute and I'm sure we'll get more time with him once he can get mobile. Once I got back to the house, I played a round of golf, got beat in TWO tennis tournaments by Christine then got to work on the upstairs.
Since I have the texture guy lined up to come out on Friday afternoon, this afternoon I need finish all the left over details. There are a few holes that need to be repaired from where I was searching around for access into the attic above the bedroom. I ordered a 22 1/2" door on Friday last week to install, so Cory and I will need to cut out the rough opening and install it.
Once we're in the new closet space, we’ll need move the return air vent which requires a trip to the Depot. Hopefully, we can move all the tubing and wiring around enough to install a scuttle door inside the closet as well. I don't think get all everything moved around the tubing and wiring and finish out the closet before Friday but, we can tackle that some other day.
First, I'd like to thank AB for the bird knowledge. Turns out, getting the bird off the ground and into a tree was about the best thing I could do.
In two more days, I'm bringing a guy in to sand and re-texture the upstairs. I'm pretty close to complete on all of the prep work, and should be able to complete all but two things tonight. Those two things are, cutting a rough opening and installing a door (which won't be complete until tomorrow anyway) and moving the return air vent up closer to the ceiling in the stairwell.
Tonight the big projects are, dismantling the vanity and closing up the scuttle that's in the bedroom closet. I tried to disassemble the vanity last night but, I couldn't find the water cutoff for the whole house. As for the scuttle, I plan on putting it in the new closet (that hasn't been cut open yet) or just above the landing if there isn't enough room.
The past two nights, Cory and I have been hard at work preparing the upstairs for sanding and re-texturing. I have two estimates for the work but, have yet to make a decision. We finished the plywood and underlayment treatment of the upstairs on the 27th of March, and for some reason, I thought there wasn't much work left to be done. I invited Cory over to walk through it and make an assessment.
Turns out, there was a lot of work left to be done. The first, and most obvious, was the sink in the bathroom and the
furdown above it. The sink was too low, and the furdown was unnecessary and made the room feel cramped. So I demolished the furdown to find a hole in the wall where the wires were fed through to the fixture. So I had to cut the entire area away, replace the sheetrock and install a j-box for a fixture (to be chosen later). I began to demolish the sink, but found that the cut off valves were worn out and needed to be replace. Cory suggested that I just cap them for now, so I put it on the list.
Cory noticed that the HVL (heat, vent, light) was installed very poorly, so we dismantled it and cut away the damaged sheetrock to see what could be done. A structure was necessary to mount the box to, so I climbed into the attic to install it. The upper attic is very dusty and filled with fiberglass insulation so, my throat and my arms are very itchy today.
The next project is wiring. The switches in the bathroom are as low as the sink, and the HVL switch is mounted above that switch, so they all need to be moved to one level, and a second switch will be added along with a light above the shower. I will also have to run a wire from the j-box above the sink to the light in the HVL, so they come on at the same time.
The only other big project is moving the return vent for the top floor up from the bottom of the stairs to the ceiling. This may require adding a closet on the landing, just to get access to the vent.
Christine spent the last few weeks moving all of my toys out of the front room upstairs, as well as the stack of flooring. Once that was done, she pulled up the carpet (which was smelly), the carpet pad and the very last of the linoleum tiles. You can see the black, (not so) sticky glue on the plywood floor below Cory's feet. Once that was done, Cory and I started shooting screws next to all of the original nails that attached the plywood to the joists. Since nails don't really have really good traction over the years, warping wood can pull the nails out of the joists slightly, and allow the wood to rub on metal, making very irritating squeaks. Screws have much better holding power, and running them next to nails stops stops most of the squeaks but, not all. Just under Cory's feet, there was a persistent squeak. As we discovered from the back room upstairs, squeaks like this can be caused by split joists, or (as we soon figured out) loose cross braces. We eventually gave up on running more screws into the wood and decided to pull up the offending panel. Bo dropped by and helped find the edges of the plywood, and pryed it up while Cory searched and pulled nails from the top side of the board. The exposed joist, closest to the top of the screen has a split in it AND a few of the cross braces (since they were made from scrap lumber) had split as well adding to the cacophony of noises emanating from the floor above the dining room. We stopped at this stage of the project to get some food, and should get back to it either today or tomorrow morning. I think the solution will be removing the cross bracing and installing 2X4's on metal hangers cinched down with 2" course thread screws.
One more week down, one month to go. I'm avidly looking for a new position that allows me to stay in Austin. I have a few leads but, nothing solid quite yet. My current job has been a very good experience, and a real confidence builder. It's only the travel that's a drag. I'm looking foreward to a fun weekend in Austin, starting with a pary on the rooftop at seakeasy, downtown.
I'll have some pretty good traction on the upstairs. Once the floors are down and the few miscelaneous things I have planned. I can forsee the walls gettin re-textured in the next two to three weeks.
Coming back from a four day weekend can be rough. The first thing I wanted to do this morning was go back to sleep. Cory and I got the vent hood over the stove installed. A procedure which required cutting out the sheet rock between two studs and cutting openings in the boards running above and below the studs. Finally, a cut through the plywood flooring gave us the path from kitchen to upper attic. The kitchen is a little closer to complete, and there only needs to be a little more work done to get the upstairs ready for new texture and paint. Hopefully I can finish it all up by the end of next weekend.
Cory and I are still working hard on the wiring throughout the house. We're mostly through with the electrical, which leaves us with data, phone and alarm. The phone and cable run from the pole in the back yard through the garage attic, and need to run to the closet under the stairs. So, yesterday, I drilled a hole through the headers from the hall through the kitchen to the garage. It was a lot of trouble drilling through all of the headers without cutting a hole in the sheetrock for every gap but, with the proper tools it can be done. I've estimated that I need to run 7 wires through the 1 1/8" hole that runs through 11 boards and the two headers (that top the east and west walls of the kitchen). I will also be running a 1/4" copper tube through the same opening to get from the water source to the refrigerator.