Saturday, September 27, 2008

I promised you'd see my new flooring

And I'm a man of my word. But we haven't started putting it down yet. So here is what it looks like (darker is the body tile, "arabesque"; lighter is the accent tile, "virgin blue") with my faithful orange cat testing it out.
Cheddar approves of the MarmoleumA real blog entry will come soon, there's nothing good in the home improvements or stupid around me (or that I care to share -- sometimes you gotta keep your gripes about people to yourself) to repeat. Just wanted to keep my pledge, since I spent a couple days sanding and stripping a small desk for the diningroom and the cupboards in the utility room but we have yet to start painting them. Painting those were the only things we had on the list for the weekend -- Friday: shopped for supplies; Saturday: did yardwork, which wasn't on my list at all -- and Paige said she wanted to do them both herself (and has touched neither).

Monday, September 22, 2008

you wanted even more pictures, Jamie, you got s'more pictures

Hello, observers! Let's see if my mad formatting skills worked out on the two pictures below. Click for big. As you will see, many good things have happened including cleaning up our mess so the progress will show. And the real impetus (and today's stupidity) was other people... My wife's coworkers knew that we were working on our kitchen, and some even would check out the semi-regular status photos on Flickr. She plays Michigan Rummy with a group of them, and one of them said at their monthly meeting awhile back, "Hey, you'll be done with your kitchen by, hmm, September twentieth... We're going to have cards at your house to celebrate!" Well, needless to say, despite this date not being our idea we chose to abide by it (and if you see our spines anywhere...) so we worked our asses off to present a clean, organized, painted and functional kitchen by 5 p.m. Sept 20. Oh, here is where I interject that we had FIVE houseguests one night -- her sister, her sister's girlfriend, two of their kids, and on a separate itinary her mom -- which certainly served as a reason to get the tons of kitchen's boxed stuff out of the familyroom put away and a crew to clean that room. We still need to work on the paint around the ceiling edge, the flooring isn't down yet, we need trim around the baseboards and such, and we're just now attending to the utility room (one cabinet to strip and paint, washer and drier to move out so we can floor, etcetera), but we can cook in both the microwave and the convection ovens, the stove does tricks, the sweet green pendant lights light in green sweetly, and we have plenty of cupboard and counterspace. And the two switchplates we ordered for over the main counter, I was sent an update a couple days ago, will be here on the 24th.

right side     left side

I suppose there's nothing else new to report. Except that the skanky neighbors across the street have indeed vacated their hovel. And left five cats. The next door neighbor let me know that two of them died (likely of hunger) the other day and two are at this moment in a cage trap (with food and water) on the porch so the Humane Society can pick them up tomorrow; that last white one I haven't seen in a couple days but it had been hanging out in our backyard. That neighbor has only been saying they're going to move for the last three years. One strange note, I took a tour of the house earlier today and discovered it's a two bedroom, neither of which is all that big; the larger at the front of the house was the woman's room, and the smaller is eight feet by nine feet. The next door neighbor's comment was, "...and her son and daughters all stayed in that room." But equally as sick and twisted as that concept was the floor and wall tiles in the bathroom (click for more detail):
what the hell bathtub
You're seeing right: there are three different vinyl floor tiles in use in a stupid arrangement, and you have to think that the mirror tiles and ceramic mosaic tiles on the wall were done that way originally (including the bad choice of not having the tiles under the spout gridded in the same rows as the rest); bonus note, the linoleum wall strip with the knee-hole was also used for sliding doors on the space under the sink. But enough of this blog entry. You may see my new flooring next episode!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

you wanted more pictures, Jamie, here's another.

Hey there. We'll start off with an amusing picture, this being a screen capture from the website of an auto dealership in Brazil. You can say that four-letter word out loud and proudly because it's the family name of the owners. my dealer is a Fuck In these parts, it'd be hard for someone with that name to get through twelve years of public school. (I wonder about one of my mother's classmates, Janice Boob. Everyone I've ever known agreed that one of our college classmates, Rodney Schmoe, was a schmoe and so much more... "Rodney Shmuck" is what people called him behind his back. And then there's the Seattle Mariners closing pitcher JJ Putz, who pronounces his name with an "oo" sound, like "pootz".) Anyhow. Maybe you wondered how the kitchen remodel is going. Yup, it's going. Below is a photo taken a few minutes ago as an update: the cabinet and cupboard doors are back up with new hardware, and the painting o' the green (color = "field of pines") has begun.

At the moment I'm sort of in an odd place in my head. It's all juxtaposition. I'd been talking frequently with someone on Flickr that lives in Houston whose last email said, "if I get quiet for a few days it's because of Hurricane Ike, which I figure will pass by us in the night." Well, apparently it didn't just pass by, and so I haven't seen hide nor hair of her since she was blithely going to bed. Then there's the local who keeps talking about wanting to meet me, have chai (neither of us drink coffee), and get her moved into a new place. Well, I was busy on moving day and she won't commit to a day and time (I've suggested a couple, she's said they sounded good but that's it) to get together, so at this rate I'm figuring that it's all talk. I got email from my bestie Chrome, who says he's hating himself and the world around him but school starting for him next week should snap him out of that, and once he's done... hmm, moving in with his half-brother in Branson, MO? I have not devised an opinion about how I feel about that yet. But I think the thing that has me a little imbalanced is when I met up with my favorite cowgirl, Karen, at the Fair for a little while ("I'd love to hang out with you and talk," she said when I first stepped up to her, "but I have to go to something at the top of the hill in a little while"... and I'm not planning to go back to the Fair this year) and without much information or prompt she said "I'm worried about you" and basically said a few things that I'd been thinking which I didn't believe anyone could know, and I wish we'd had the time to hash that discussion out fully. But hey, a couple people I'd lost touch with months or years ago have resurfaced so I have some blossoms to pick as the present flowers fade.

And now, a few words on the progress of the kitchen and of course something stupid found along the way. Click the picture to make it big. A few comments to make about this snapshot: a) The white thing at the right is where I patched the hole where the phone jack was... I wired this back out the side of the house, into the attic, and ten feet to the inside wall behind where I was standing to take this picture, so the phone will be on a little desk by the refrigerator. cabinet and paint I sprayed on a little texture so the patching and damage to the wall from what had been there before won't be so obvious. b) Yes, that's the color we're doing the kitchen. We'd originally bought a lighter green, which turned out to be too light, so we are using it as primer to cover the nicotine-ish yellow [original kitchen color] and sunny yellow and flaky white [what the Crackheads™ painted it in the 1990's]. There's only one coat of this darker green up presently and it's not everywhere, so what you see here is by no means 'done'. c) The ceramic outlet covers with nickel framing are on order from -- I thought we could save some time by ordering online, since it was going to be two weeks before any Lowe's in the entire Puget Sound area are going to get another shipment (seriously, their computer says they're available in Bremerton and North Lacey), but it's going to take a couple weeks that way too. And now, for that stupidity... The trouble is not so much that when we took the doors off the cabinets we didn't mark them somehow to say where they'd come from. It's also not that in January my wife bought new hinges, but didn't look at the old hinges first to see what style the doors require (there's a 1/4" inner ledge on the doors, so the new hinges have to have this right-angle bend to compensate for that) so we had to find a way to exchange them nine months later. The stupid thing is that when putting the doors back on, they don't friggin' fit. Okay, that and the fact that several of them are a bit warped so don't close right, but seriously, I'm securing the hinges on the frames and the doors are overlapping yet snugged into their places on the hinge sides. So far as I can tell, the previous folks who put the doors up in 1959 must have pushed and pulled on the doors to bend the old hinges enough to where the doors would close. (The Crackheads™ left them up and painted over all the hardware.) I've done a little of that manipulation, a fact I'm not proud of, plus on a couple of them pulled out the tools and planed or sawed a fraction of an inch off the meeting sides. I'm standing there shouting "why the hell aren't they the right size? they were up, right here, and worked fine previously!" as I try to hang the doors on the cupboard which houses the spices and cereal. They always make mounting cabinet doors look so effortless on TV...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

you wanted pictures, Jamie, you gots pictures.

sink and counterOkay, here's a picture on the right of the new countertop showing the breakfast bar, with the sink I just put in a couple days ago. The icon is purposely small so you have to click on it to see it in all its glory. The flooring project starts in the near future; the boxes of Marmoleum tile are under yonder diningroom table. First, we must paint the walls and put the cabinet doors back up. We also have some swell pendant lights (which would be cropped in that picture if they were up yet) to hang once those two tasks are complete.

There's a whole lotta stupidity to report about putting that sink in, but the minutae in words gets pretty cluttered so let's see how well I can sum it up. I thought it was going to be a half-hour project, because it should have been. Apply caulk, drop sink in, hook up plumbing, ta-daa! But no. I laid the caulk then put the sink in....The hole I'd cut and tiled around was a little small (by 1/4 of an inch), and I'd put the sink in while I was putting the counter together to try to avoid that but failed anyway. Quick, dash to the hardware store, get a $20 carbide wheel for the grinder, trim the front edge a mite. This is where the Three Stooges style slapstick comedy comes in -- the grinder wouldn't start because the switch inside wouldn't go far enough forward, I'd have to pull out two screws to turn it on with the power unplugged, then I'd plug it in and within seconds the protective shield would slide off so I'd have to power it off (the external switch worked for that!) and take the wheel off to fix the shield... This comedy happened twice. Finally I got all the components together long enough to make that trim, hurray. But now the whole kitchen is covered in grey dust, obviously including all that caulk, and the air is thick. So I have to peel that caulk off and lay more down after I clean the place up. (Yes, I have a professional dust & vapor mask. It's pink.) I get the sink in and it doesn't lay flat on half of the front side, but the back and two side sides are fine -- the tiles where everyone can see aren't level. Nothing I can do about that except stuff caulk in there, and by this time I'm stepping on the tube because it's 99.5% empty.

Finally I get to the point where I can do the plumbing. Let it be known that I like doing electrical but I hate doing plumbing. Electrical, the light either goes on or it doesn't; you either get shocked or you don't. Plumbing has more variables and weaknesses, and less of an immediate indication that there's a flaw. Summing up, I had to redo the drain elbow part five or six times, plus take the faucet back out because there was a leak in a place that there shouldn't be. And there was another run to the hardware store because the water taps on the wall are 1/2" diameter but (surprise!) the connectors on the water lines to the faucet -- which are built onto it, I can't replace them like the guy at the hardware store believed I could -- are 3/8" diameter. Genuine stupidity: they don't sell the adaptors themselves. I had to buy two kits which contained the adaptor plus a water line and another adaptor for a different size tap. Guys? Do something about that. But eventually I had a drip-free plumbing arrangement that worked with my pretty new sink. <3 And the next day, the instruction sheet for how to install the sink fell out of the box bottom, where it had been hiding under the flaps... tossing the box onto the back porch once the project was done dislodged it.

The rest of the current project, as you will see in all its glory if you click this little picture on the left, is doing well also. We got the oven along with the microwave, it's in the driveway waiting for us to do the flooring. The cabinet's countertop is swell, the little pan cabinet is in place and has been fitted with a butcherblock top, the overhead cabinets are up, and the hooded microwave is present and functional. new cabinets and microwave Oh, I have some teeth-gritting stories about getting the microwave up (simple version: the manufacturer's paper template I followed when drilling holes didn't quite match where the holes really needed to be) and fitting the exhaust pipe (the words "powerlifter's prolapsed rectum" describe part of the fun) but you don't want to hear them. I still have all my fingers despite the exhaust pipe adventure, I purchased my first roll of duct tape ever and actually used it on ducts -- for the record, the instructions said to use it, this wasn't a default guy thing, though I will concede I used 3/4 of a roll on one project -- and happily that's all in a cabinet no one will look in lest anyone accuse us of being Crackheads™, and my wife believes the truly good news is that since the new microwave is on a different circuit than everything on the left side of the house (as our old microwave is) you can now run the toaster and the microwave at the same time without dimming the lights. Personally, I think that's a flaw of her toaster. Oh, and the custom-order 12" wide cabinet turned out to be too wide -- we made a mistake measuring (we should have measured from the SIDE of the existing cabinet to the wall, not the edge of the old countertop, since the new countertop is half an inch wider than the old one), and the cabinet place claims it can no longer get 9" cabinets suddenly. So that thing in the right corner came from Lowe's, and that $70 thing in the driveway is going to Habitat For Humanity's thriftstore. All the bare wood you see will get painted shortly.

Final stupidity, which has nothing to do with the house: My mother-in-law called to say her new coworker at the place she volunteers is my ex-fiancee. Well, hmm, that's a little uncomfortable... Small freakin' town, that's all I can say.

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