Thursday, December 30, 2004

One Last Entry

I took some photos with my 35mm camera the other day and Tammy had the idea to put some before and after photos together. Here's a before picture looking toward Rachel's future dance room from about where the bar would be located. Here's the after photo. This before photo was taken looking through what would soon be the half wall. Here's the after photo. The kitchenette before...and after. Another view, before...and after. Before...and after. Anyway, I wish I had more of the before photos but I don't. Here are some more photos from the 'after' collection...looking into Rachel's dance room; the entertainment center Keith made and the Tulip lamp we made for over the bumper pool table.

I didn't get any shots of the bathroom or sauna because I don't have a wide enough lens to get a decent photo.

Rachel hasn't had dance class for the past two weeks. I'm looking forward to coming home from work next Monday night and having her show us what she's working on. Wear your tap shoes, kiddo and don't worry about leaving marks on the floor. Mom and I will someday look at those marks and they'll remind us of when you were young and how you used to dance for us. Hey, have I told you lately that I love you? i do.


Sunday, December 26, 2004

Final Video

I thought I'd put together one last video of our finished basement. I don't think we could be happier with the outcome. I'm not even sure that we'd change anything if we had it to do all over again. Dan was great to work with and I can't say enough good things about him and the guys he brought in to do their parts. If you're reading this and you live in the Minneapolis area and are considering a project around your home you owe it to yourself to give Dan a chance to bid it for you. I learned of him from my brother, Keith. Keith has a cabinet shop in Farmington and he works with all sorts of contractors. When I mentioned to him that we were finally getting around to finishing our basement he recommended Dan without hesitation. Tammy and I have said several times how glad we are that we didn't try and do this job sooner because we most likely would've hooked up with someone who wouldn't have done anywhere near the job Dan and John did for us.

Here's a video of the completed project...roll the video.

To get in touch with Dan you can email him at

Dan's website is located here.

To get in touch with Keith you can reach him at 651-463-4004. View his website here.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Day Forty Four

We're so close to being finished with the project but we still have a few things remaining not the least of which is to try and figure out how to get the tv and all its components singing in harmony. Dan wants to try his hand at finding the reason why they're not working correctly before we say uncle. The tv is working fine but it's not connecting with the surround sound. The DVD is connecting with the surround sound but there's no video...Hmmm. I'll see what I can find after work tomorrow...I'm just too tired to mess with it tonight.

John was back on the job today helping Dan grout the bathroom. We're really pleased with how the bathroom turned out. it's the nicest one in our home. I called Keith tonight to let him know we could probably use a cabinet in there for towels. He'll stop by sometime in the next couple weeks and get some dimensions. No hurry. Dan and John also put in the shower and toilet. All that's left are the toilet paper holder and a bar for towels.

Mack and Larry showed up to lay the carpet. Mack is another laid off Northwest mechanic. Larry has been installing carpet for 15 years. He used to own Cedar Lanes bowling alley on 90th and Cedar ave in Bloomington until it burned down in '87. It's painful to watch them use the kick bar when stretching the carpet into place. That can't be good for your knees...but then who am I to talk about abusing your knees. The carpet looks nice and it didn't take long for Toby and Allie to start chasing each other around with the new traction pad in place.

While the carpet was being installed the cable guy came by and got our moxy box installed. As I was saying earlier, we still have some bugs to work out. I was a bit worried that the delivery from Game Room Gallery would happen at the same time that the cable and carpet guys were here but they were running late. They called to let me know and I told them that being late was a good thing for me. They showed up just after the cable guy had left.

I had to keep Toby and Allie locked up in the den because they love to go down and visit with the guys. I came up and found that Toby had discovered some gift wrapping ribbon. It was funny because for our Christmas cards Tammy posed a picture of Toby and Allie supposedly playing with some wrapping materials. This was the real thing without any staging.

I forgot to mention that the couch was delivered on Saturday and it's going to be just fine. I was worried that the color would be too similar to the carpet and tile but it's not at all. It's going to be just fine which is a good thing because it took quite a bit of effort for the movers to get it into the basement. I didn't want to have to think about getting it back to the store for a different colored one.

The last thing we did today was to hang the lamp over the pool table. Maybe now I can get some photos of it and post them week.

Yes, if you carefully read the last post I made you would have picked up my hint that there was something extra being delivered along with the pool table. Tammy took Rachel to Tammy's aunt's home to show her how to make Lefse but more importantly to get Rachel out of the house while a certain delivery was made. Rather than spell it out I'll let you watch for yourself...roll the video.

I don't know what got into me but when we went to Game Room Gallery to buy the bumper pool table a couple months ago. I saw the Simpson's pinball machine for sale and the wheels started turning in my head. I didn't say anything to Tammy that first night we were there but on our second visit I mentioned that it would be fun if we could have it for our basement. Let's just say I didn't have to twist her arm too hard to get her to agree. Hey, we've got it set on free play so come on by and leave your quarters at home.

John was the first of many today to try their hand at it. Tammy also gave it a go and she has the high score so far at 6,000,000+. The closest I could come was 4,500,000. I think we've got a challenge in the making. We talked about trying out the sauna for the first time but I think we all tired too soon. Maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, that's it from here today. Dan will be by in the morning to continue working on all the little stuff remaining. I think we're all ready for the project to be completed. One thing Tammy and I can say is that we not only got our basement finished nicer than we ever imagined it would be but we've met some incredibly nice people along the way. It won't be the same without Dan and John and the rest of the guys coming by to do their stuff. We'll have to stay in touch for sure...besides, we've maybe got some more plans in the works. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Day Forty Three

John came by early this morning to finish the finishing work. He'll leave just a bit of trim remaining to be done in the bathroom and Dan will finish that once the caulking is done. Dan also came by this morning to work on some of the odds and ends. I was telling Dan last week that when I'm in the final steps of completing a lamp I always underestimate how much more time it will take to complete the job. He said our basement project will be much the same. The loose ends can be very time consuming to tie up.

Dan worked on installing the sink and faucet as well as changing out the door on the cooler. After he'd finished that we brought the TV down and put it in place in the entertainment center. The cable guy is coming in the morning so we needed to have it ready to go.

Keith came by yesterday and did some trim work under the bar top on the half wall into Rachel's dance room. He also brought along a nice swivel stand he made for the 15" tv in the bar cabinet.

I spent most of yesterday wiring up the speakers and running to BestBuy to try and find the specific cables I needed to wire the different components. I'll find out tomorrow how successful I was at making my connections. I finished getting the speakers installed for the surround sound this morning.

It was a late night last night made even later by my cousin's visit on her way back to DC. Deborah ran into some snowy weather and missed her connection in MSP so she stayed with us for the night. It gave us a chance to christen the bar with a glass of wine. All that was missing were the bar stools and they'll stay missing until the carpet is installed tomorrow.

Monday is going to be a busy day around here. The cable guy comes in the morning between 9 and 11. Hopefully all will go well with getting the TVs online. We're also expecting a 10:30 am delivery from Game Room Gallery of the bumper pool table and maybe something else. ;) The carpet installers are also supposed to be here sometime tomorrow to do their thing. I'm hoping there isn't too much overlap with all of these guys but there's bound to be some. It would be nice if the carpet guys didn't show up until later morning or these guys will be tripping over one another.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Day Forty Two

Today was the biggest day of all so far. I couldn't believe all the stuff coming off of Keith's trailer and into our home. We had to stage some of it in different areas of the house so there was room to work in the basement. We suffered one casualty along the way. Dan and I were carrying in some cabinets with Dan walking backwards ahead of me. We were talking about something and not really paying attention to what we were doing and Dan backed into one of the steps leading up to the front door and went down with the cabinet crashing hard into his shin and also catching his knee. But like a trooper the first thing out of his mouth was 'I saved the cabinet!'. He definitely took one for the team. Thanks Dan and I really apologize because it should have been me to warn you of the step but I didn't even think of it.

Assembling the cabinets was an all day job for Keith, Doug, Dave and Jason. Dave is also an air traffic controller. We used to work together for several years up until recently when he transfered out to the tower at MSP airport to be closer to his home. He works for Keith and Doug on Fridays. He has carpentry in his blood and this is a good way for him stay in touch with it. He also coaches girls soccer. A better friend you're not likely to find. Dave's also the one who helped me (or should I say I helped him) build our stained glass shop.

Jason is a younger guy who recently began working for Keith. He's a good kid. Here's a photo of him assembling the doors to the entertainment center. Speaking of the entertainment center...I had to run some errands after we offloaded the trailer and when I came back I was a bit wowed by it. It's huge but not too big. It's quite the centerpiece for the room. Actually, I think it will make our TV look not quite so large.

While the cabinets were being assembled, Dan put the finishing touches on the balance bar in the dance room. There wasn't much else Dan could do today with Keith and his crew everywhere and we needed to stay out of their way.

Did I mention how amazed I am by my brother, Keith? To watch him work is a thing of beauty. It seems that he doesn't get rattled by anything. A problem appears and he takes it in stride and provides a solution. I've got so much admiration for him...and to think, I couldn't stand the guy while we were growing up. I'm thankful for maturity.

Dave got the dart board hung in place with the bullseye the required 5'8" from the floor. Keith incorporated an arc into the raised panel front. We wanted to hide the outlet inside the wall but we were over a cold air return and it wasn't doable. Keith did a nice job of covering it so it wasn't so obvious.

I don't think we could have been more pleased with the laminate we chose for the counter tops. Here's a bit of the bathroom counter. I think it's called, Fallen Leaf. It just seems to go well in there.

I called Keith a few nights ago from the place we're purchasing the bumper pool table from (Game Room Gallery in Burnsville) to see if he would be able to build a pool cue holder or would it be best if I just bought one. He told me he had something in mind and would bring it by today. This is so much nicer than what I would have found at the store. Notice again the arc Keith carried into this as well. The base piece is similar.

After it was all assembled, Keith recommended that I paint the area behind where the TV will go a flat black. I wouldn't have thought of that. It will look nicer once everything is in place to not see the lighter colored wall behind.

Here's a photo of the bar and kitchenette. We've still got a few things we're working on in this area and hope to have it nearly finished tomorrow. I'd forgotten to buy a faucet for the sink so I went out tonight and found one. Keith is working on a swivel support for the TV which will go in the upper left of the cabinets along the back wall above the microwave.

Rachel came home from school and ran downstairs to check it all out. I heard her say several times something to the affect that 'this is so cool'. She ran and got Katrina from across the street and she came down and responded in a similar way. Oh, btw...Rachel is ready for Christmas...she did this design on her own ;) Tammy got home from work after everyone had left and I think she must have said the word 'magnificent' three times in five minutes.

Magnificent...mag·nif·i·cent ( P ) Pronunciation Key (mg-nf-snt)adj.
Splendid in appearance; grand: a magnificent palace.
Grand or noble in thought or deed; exalted.
Outstanding of its kind; superlative: a magnificent place for sailing. See Synonyms at grand.

Yea, I'd say that's a pretty good assessment.

Anyway, it's been a long day and I should wrap this up. Schneiderman's will be by in the morning to deliver the couch which I don't think we'll keep. It's tan and I really think it needs to be a deeper color. We'll give it a go though and if it doesn't work out we'll have to special order the color we really want...more of a deep forest green. Dan will be by sometime in the afternoon as will Keith. We're also hoping/expecting John to come by and finish the trim work if he has the time.

Just a have to look close to get the humor in today's comic. Lemme know if you need help.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Day Forty One

Dan finished laying the bathroom tile. He told me he spent quite a bit of time last night thinking and rethinking the tile. His inclination this morning was to tile only two of the walls. I was sort of thinking the same thing yesterday after the first wall was done. We all agreed that tiling all the walls would maybe give it more of an industrial feel. Just tiling two of the walls gives it a rich look but doesn't overdo it. It looks real nice.

Seth, Pete and one other guy from Clearview Glass came by around 11:00 with our mirrors. We had to spend 30 minutes or so checking and double checking the placement of the holes in the glass for attaching the brackets which hold the balance bar. There was only one chance to do it right so as Ross Perot would say, 'my daddy used to tell me to measure twice and cut once'. Dan had nailed some supports behind the drywall to anchor the brackets to but once we got to actually placing the bar we decided to shift the position we'd originally planned for meaning we wouldn't be able to use the supports Dan had made. Fortunately we were able to center it all on some studs and get it pretty close to where we wanted it. It all looks very nice and we're looking forward to seeing the balance bar in place. Rachel got home from school and ran downstairs to see how it looked. She's very happy with it.

Dan and I spent the last 45 minutes of the day clearing out all the tools, left over materials and trash from the basement in preparation for Keith, his crew and the cabinets to arrive in the morning. Keith anticipates it's going to be an all day job fitting everything into place. I'll try and help where I can tomorrow but I'm more concerned with staying out of the way. Knowing Keith's appetite for Subway, I think I can at least plan a Subway run for everybody. It's going to be a big day tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Day Forty

I stopped by Keith's shop today to drop off the knobs for the cabinets and the dart board and to also take a few more photos. I think the counter tops are going to look pretty cool. The laminate probably isn't something you would use in a kitchen but I think it will work well in our basement. I'm hoping so anyway. This is a photo of the base for the entertainment center. Up until last week I assumed they would carpet the entire basement first and then put the cabinets down but that's not the case. The cabinets will go in first and the carpet will be laid up to them. Here's a photo of the front of the bar. The bar top will have a bit of a wrap around where it meets up with the wall. We talked about putting a foot rail along the bottom but opted not to. I think they end up being in the way more than anything and won't allow for us to push the chairs in close to the bar when not in use. Space is going to be a bit limited in this area. I'm not sure but I think these are some of the cabinets for the kitchenette turned upside down. These will be part of the entertainment center.

Keith said to expect him and his crew Friday morning. I'll have to put in some time tomorrow cleaning stuff out of the basement where the cabinets will go. There's a lot of stuff down there which we'll have to keep shifting around to make room for the different projects as they come together.

I got home from work and Dan was busy putting the tile up on the walls in the bathroom. He wasn't able to lay it out quite like he'd planned but I think it looks real nice as it is. In this photo he's using a laser light to line up the bottom row of tile. He'll finish the job tomorrow. Good news...the 3-way dimmer switch problem is a now a former problem. Dan mentioned something about the thelman wire being loose but I didn't press him for specifics.

The guys with the mirrored glass come tomorrow morning. They'll be installing three 4 x 6 mirrored panels in Rachel's dance room. I'll be interested to see how that looks as I'm sure it's going to give the room a much larger look. That job will be complicated a bit because of the balance bar which will be installed over the mirrors. They'll need to make some cuts to allow for it. I should have some photos of it tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Day Thirty Nine

Keith got the doors and trim stained so Dan's finisher, John, could come in and do the trim work and hang the doors. They look real nice and they're so heavy compared to the hollow core doors we've got throughout the rest of our house. It makes me want to change them all out but I don't think that's very high up on the list of things to do. These are the sliding doors in front of the storage area in the dance room.

Dan put in a long day and was here till 6:30. He plans to tile the walls in the bathroom tomorrow. If he has time I think he'd like to once and for all solve the problem of this 3-way dimmer switch but I won't mention that here. I think there may be a loose thelman wire...either that or the transverse conduction associated with the prolapsed elliptical transducing diode may have to be re-calibrated.

I went shopping for a toilet tonight. I didn't realize all the things you need to consider when you shop for one. Dan gave me a short list...get a round bowl with an insulated tank and don't spend over $150...simple enough. I found the toilet of my dreams at the orange store and I couldn't believe it when a sales associate actually approached me and asked if I needed some assistance as help can be hard to come by there. I asked him if this particular model was a good one or should I reconsider and if I should reconsider, which one did he think I should consider buying. He liked my choice and assured me that it was their most popular selling model. I asked if they had it with an insulated tank and he said they did. He disappeared for a few minutes then came back with a set of stairs on wheels and proceeded to climb up and find the tank I needed from the stock overhead. He came down with an open box. He looked through it and said it looked like most of the stuff was there but that it appeared some bolts were missing. When we compared it with the contents of a previously unopened tank we discovered that whoever returned the tank had taken most of the hardware out from inside the tank and that I would not have been very happy once I got this one home and realized it wouldn't work. He went back to check the computer which told him there were 4 more tanks just like the one I needed somewhere in the store. He disappeared again and this time he came back with a helper, a forklift and a bunch of barricades to stop the flow of people passing by the moving forklift. It's really quite a production when they use the forklift at Home Depot. Anyway, after nearly 30 minutes I had the toilet tank I needed and was headed for other parts of the store to find an assortment of items I needed.

I didn't realize knobs for cabinets would be so expensive. I think I paid about $2.80 for each knob multiplied by 53 for a total of about $150 just for knobs. I didn't realize I'd need so many of them...53 knobs is a lot of knobs.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Day Thirty Eight

City on a Hill is a collection of artists who sing contemporary Christian music. Here's the title track from their Christmas CD...City on a Hill

The people at Polar Saunas got back to Dan early this morning about the problem we were having with the heater control unit. They suspected we had a bad cable and suggested we try another. Sure enough, that's what it was. While Dan was finishing up the sauna, Dick was busy taking out the door to the glass shop. We're replacing it with a 6 panel door to match the rest of the doors in the basement.

I went to Al's Vacuum this morning to price out a new 30' hose and power head. I couldn't believe the prices. For the hose alone they wanted $200...the same for the power head. $400 for a hose and vacuum...I don't think we'll be buying one anytime soon. I was hoping to have a separate vacuum for the downstairs level but not at that price.

About mid morning Dan and Dick were able to finally get going on the floor in the dance room. It was a little putzy to begin but they quickly found a rhythm and started making good progress. I phoned Dan around 4:00pm and they were working on getting the end pieces cut.

I came home from work and Rachel was excited to show Tammy and I her new dance steps on her new dance floor. We went downstairs and watched her tap her way through her program. We've been dreaming of this moment for a while. We used to talk about how it would be nice to be able to have a dance floor for her but there were times when I thought that all it would ever be was a dream. The floor looks very nice. It's not actually wood; it's an imitation wood which will better withstand the abuse from her tap shoes. On Thursday we'll have the mirrors and balance bar put up which will really give it a dance floor look.

After watching Rachel dance we all ended up sitting inside the sauna talking about our day. Of course that included Toby and Allie too. Rachel told us about how Dan's cellphone kept ringing while he was trying to finish up. She was down by him when it rang and he told her to go ahead and answer it...she said, "Hello, this is Dan's secretary."...It was John. I'm guessing that caught him off guard.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Day Thirty Seven

The sauna is about 95% complete. They need to shave just a bit off the overall size of the door. The fit is exactly perfect as it is but the concern is that once it's exposed to higher humidity levels it may swell and become difficult to close. They also need to attach the door handles and put a vent in the bottom of the wall adjacent to the bathroom. Dan had the sauna heater working but the LED on the display panel for the heater control unit isn't working. The control panel turns the heater on and off as it should but the display is bad. I put in a call to tech support and left a message for them to get back to us. The sauna looks so nice. I tried to take some photos inside it but my camera lens isn't wide enough so I took a short video instead...roll the video.

We had to turn off the water while they soldered the spigot in the sauna. When John went to turn the water back on he noticed that the faucet in the kitchen center island sink wasn't working right. The spray attachment would work but the faucet wouldn't. We went to Fleet Farm and bought a new faucet to replace it. We ran into some problems with that installation so John suggested we use the faucet we just bought for our main kitchen sink and buy a different style for the island. An hour later and we had new faucets for both kitchen sinks. Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty...thanks.

I stayed up until 12:30am working on finishing the lamp. It's done and I'm happpy with how it turned out. It'll be a few weeks before I try and get some photos of it with my 35mm camera. A photo with my digital camera doesn't do much for it so I won't even bother to try.

I went around with paint this morning and touched up the areas Dick repaired in the drywall. Okay, no more painting please.

I think Dan intends to finish the sauna and lay the floor in the dance room tomorrow. The trim guy, John, came by yesterday to scope the job out. I think we're ready for him any time although he won't be able to finish until the cabinets are in. I phoned Keith today and he says he should be ready to install the cabinets on Friday. If that works out then it looks like we'll be able to have the carpet installed on Saturday. It's going to be a busy week. I'm set up for delivery of our stuff from Game Room Gallery and the cable TV hook up on Monday. Schneiderman's will be here with our couch on Tuesday. Am I forgetting anything?

Friday, December 10, 2004

Day Thirty Six

The sauna is about 70% complete. They got the walls and door up as well as the thermostat and light in place. It looks very nice. I don't think the installation was a straight forward as they would've liked but it worked out well. They'll put the flooring and benches in place tomorrow and then it should be done. Dan says we can use it tomorrow night but I think we're going to wait until the entire basement is done before we christen it. I'm looking forward to seeing it tomorrow with the benches in place. I don't know if it makes sense to say this about a sauna but it's very cool.

I worked for a few hours soldering the lamp. I've got another 7-9 hours of work left to finish it and I hope to have that done tomorrow. Tammy thinks we should wait until all the construction is done before we hang it. I'd thought we'd hang it and raise it up above everything until the construction's done but that's probably not a good idea as someone could bang into it with something over the next few days.

They'll be back in the morning. Dick has gone over a few spots in the sheetrock which got dinged and needed repair. He'll sand them tomorrow and I'll get them repainted. Dan plans to finish the sauna and start work on the floor in Rachel's dance room.

I talked to Tim tonight and he said he's spent 16 hours over the last 2 days staining our cabinets. When he tells me that, I'm a little concerned that the cabinets are going to overpower the room. It's not as though they're all in one place though because they're spread out between the entertainment center, the kitchenette and the bathroom. Keith thinks he'll be ready to install the cabinets by Friday. That would work well for us so we can get the carpet installed on Saturday or Sunday. I made an appointment to have the cable dvr installed the following Monday and the sofa delivered the day after that. I called about the pool table delivery today but the guy never got back to me. I'll need to bug him tomorrow.

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Day Thirty Five

They got several items off the to do list today. Dan cut the arcs in the tile this morning and they turned out very nice. They also grouted the floor tile. Dick stopped by to patch a hole in the wall where they had to move a light switch. The switch was where Keith intends to join the bar top to the wall. It was an easy fix as the switch could still be accessed from the backside of the wall inside the sauna. Dick stayed around for several hours and helped Dan install the sump pump and the central vac.

I stopped by Keith's shop to get some photos of the cabinets while they're still being constructed. As I looked around, our cabinet parts were everywhere. Tim was there staining's a family affair. Here's a photo of several of the door fronts Tim had just finished staining. I caught the master (Keith) at work too.

Tomorrow is the day we've been waiting for as Dan plans to put the sauna in. I think we're all curious just to open the boxes and have a look at the wood and other materials. I hope to have some photos to post here tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Day Thirty Four

I'm glad Tammy brought up the question of the tile last night. Had she not done that we most likely would've taken delivery of our furniture only to be horrified to find that there was no way we were going to make it work. If you're not sure what I'm talking about you'll have to read yesterday's post. Anyway, I fiddled with some graph paper and some measurements at work this morning trying to find a way to make some or all of our furniture work with the room dimensions but I kept coming up empty. I left work at 8:00am and headed for home to show Tammy and Dan what it looked like on paper. Tammy and I decided the best thing to do would be to go to Keith's shop and make some cardboard templates of our furniture. I did that and brought them down to the basement and it looked even worse than it did on paper. Next stop, Schneiderman's.

I got to Schneiderman's and found our salesman. He felt bad that the drawing was so far off and agreed with me that there was nothing we could do to make the furniture fit the room. We played around with several different possibilities for the room but neither of us was sold on any of them. We took a walk back to a couch with an angled end seat (it sort of matches the angle of the bar) and I immediately thought it may have some possibilities for us. It will seat four people somewhat crowded but it will be just fine for the three of us. I called Tammy to drive over and have a look. She actually likes it better than what we'd originally ordered. It's tan and I'm not sure I'm all that thrilled with the color but the salesman said to get it home, try it out and if we don't like it we can order one in a different color. Sold.

Dan and John were busy laying the rest of the tile. It's all in place with the exception of the tile for the bathroom walls. John did a nice job of making some complex cuts around the shower base and some other plumbing. It looks real good. The trickier part of the day was trying to draw an arc for the tile to follow as it worked its way from one area to the next. We wanted it to have a free flow to it without any abrupt angles. Dan used his tape measure as a giant compass and we all agreed we should have paid more attention in 7th grade geometry. After a couple of tries we finally came upon an arc which worked. They'll let the tile set overnight and cut out the arcs tomorrow.

Also in the works for tomorrow will be the installation of the central vac and framing the doorway into the glass shop for the new 6 paneled door.

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Day Thirty Three

Dan put in an eleven hour day today. John was called back to Champion Air for some seasonal mechanic work so he won't be able to help much with the rest of the project. He did say he'd be able to help out tomorrow though and I'm sure that's good news for Dan.

Today saw the pendant lights get hung. They add a nice touch to the room. I told Dan I was going to send him a link to the place we got them. Here's the link, Dan...The company is Belacore. We did a Google search for pendant lights and this place had the best selection in our opinion. It turns out they're located in the cities here...I think Mendota Heights. The bathroom vanity light was also hung today. Tammy picked this out at Home Depot. It has sort of a rustic look to it and we thought that would go well with the sauna so close by...I dunno...I think saunas are sort of rustic.

While we were hanging the pendants, Dan commented that a pleated shade of some sort would look nice over the window. I hadn't really given it much thought but after he suggested that I ran it by Tammy and she agreed. Rachel and I hopped in the truck and headed for Home Depot to seek out and order a shade. Before we left we all agreed a medium brown would look nice there and we found one right away. It's on order and will be in by the 21st...thanks for the tip, Dan. I always figured we'd do some sort of stained glass design over the window but I like this idea better. There will be enough stained glass once we finish the projects for the cabinets...for which we still have no idea what sort of design we're going to do. We'll have the rest of the winter to figure that out.

Dan spent the last several hours of the day installing tile. It's looking very nice. He even took the time to show me how it's done. I'd have jumped in and tried my hand at it but I don't want to slow him down. I was telling him that it looks like it has some similarities to the stained glass work we do. You can't afford to get sloppy.

We had to leave for a school choir concert of Rachel's so we left Dan behind working on the tile. When we got back he had quite a bit of it done...that's when Tammy noticed that she thinks we're one tile too wide. We did some measurements and determined that if we use the existing width, the back of our love seat will be on the tile while the front will be on the carpet. As it works out now the carpet is figured for a twelve foot width and will have no seems. What we really need is a thirteen foot width of carpet. Tammy will explain our dilemma to Dan in the morning. I hate to have him undo anything he's already done but I think this is an important change for us to make. It will cause the carpet guys to have to have a seem in their run but I'm thinking most of the seem will be covered by the entertainment center. The part which will be visible will be along a back wall and shouldn't be a problem. Sorry Dan...I hope this isn't a big problem. :(


I had to add to this post I wrote last night. I went to bed last night thinking about the tile and the fit of the furniture. I got out of bed at 11:45 and went downstairs with a measuring tape to lay some things out. We'd been working off a floor plan the salesman at Schneiderman's had copied for us. It all looks good on his plan but after doing my own measuring I can see where his is not to scale. In fact it looks like it's off by 25%...meaning, what was an okay fit before is now no longer doable. I've been playing around with a few different scenarios but I don't care for any of them. I think we may need to consider some sort of sectional rather than the sofa, end table, chair plan we have now. Tammy won't be too happy when I break the news to her this morning. Oh, isn't this fun...and just when we thought we had it all figured out. I'm a bit doubtful that a sectional will work either as I just don't think there's room for it without cutting back more on the width of the tile run. The one plan which works best so far is to drop the over-sized chair and just go with the sofa and one end table positioned directly in front of the tv. Maybe we could throw a couple of bean bags around for kids to sit on when Rachel has friends over. Keith was amused when I told him all this and welcomed me to his world...gee, thanks.

Monday, December 6, 2004

Day Thirty Two

Dan and I did a walk through of the basement this morning and made decisions about which lights we wanted on dimmers. I had some errands to run and I was able to save Dan a trip to Menards while I was out. He gave me a list of a bunch of electrical things to buy...switches, covers, eyeballs, etc. I came home to see the trim rings in around the canned lights and the wall sconces up. I don't really care for this photo but it's the best my camera would do. Putting in the switches took up most of the rest of the day.

Our last pendant light showed up today just in time. Dan will work on hanging those tomorrow along with the bathroom vanity light. Tile goes down tomorrow too.

Saturday, December 4, 2004

Day Thirty One

I hope it's a long, long time before I see another paint brush. I spent nearly every waking hour of my weekend trying to get it wrapped up before I had to go back to work. For some silly reason I figured I'd be able to have the job done by late way. Thank God...and I seriously mean that for sending me back into our furnace/utility room early this morning. I don't know why I was back there but larger than life I happened to notice two brand new Paint Sticks leaning up against the wall. Dan recommended I buy them to use for painting the walls. I did just that but I forgot all about them when it came time to paint. Anyway, they're truly a God send. There is no way I would've gotten as far as I did today without them. A paint stick is a paint roller on a long handle. What's different about it is that the handle holds paint. It's very cool...there is a cover which sits over the paint bucked which the paint stick attaches to. Pull back on the handle of the paint stick and it sucks paint up into the handle. You apply paint to the roller by pushing in on the handle. The handle is clear so you can see how much paint is remaining. It's so much faster than continually going back to the paint tray for more paint. You can really cruise with it once you get a feel for it. They're only $16 and worth every penny and more.

Another nice gadget Dan told me about is a corner roller. I'd apply a quick bead of paint with a brush in the corners and then come along with the little roller and apply a strip 3" wide on either side. What's nice about the corner roller is that you can load a lot more paint onto it than you can a brush. It's a nice time saver which gives a better finished look than a brush. I also used it together with a straight edge along the ceiling to apply a 3" strip there. Once you've got the corners and ceiling cut in it makes quick work for the paint stick to finish the wall.

I must confess that I did lose my temper at least once tonight when for the umpteenth time I tripped over the halogen light. I can't believe that would happen as it's so bright. I think that's's so bright that it actually blinds you to where it is and you just don't look toward it not realizing it's right under your feet. I'd lay in bed at night and see its light when I'd close my eyes.

Tammy came home from work and helped me out for a few hours. We jammed to the sounds of David Gilmour, Joe Satriani, Bob Segar, Frampton and a few other names from years gone by. I had to get to Fleet Farm before they closed for a gallon of paint for the bathroom. We gathered up a piece of the wall tile and our counter top sample for comparison and got over there with a few minutes to spare. We found a lighter brown/rust color which I'm hoping will be okay once we get the room together. I got home and painted the first coat leaving the final coat for morning. I'm really looking forward to getting back to my day job tomorrow. I'm very burned out but it's nice to have this job behind me.

Friday, December 3, 2004

Day Thirty

This morning came very early for me. I was hoping to make some progress before Dan and John showed up so I could get out of their way as I knew they wanted to get back to work on the bathroom floor. I'm pretty sure the last thing they wanted to see was me down there spraying. John came by first and met me downstairs. Allie came down to greet him but Toby was upstairs whining. I went up to find him stuck between the railings as he was trying to get around the barricade we set up to keep them from going down in the basement. Allie is so small she can get through but not Toby...he's a bit fat. Anyway, Toby got to see John and all was well. Dan showed up and he and John proceeded to offload tile into the garage. I stayed downstairs and sprayed. I thought maybe they'd left but a little while later they came down and told me they were going to help me paint. "Really?...great!" I didn't want to bother them with it but I also couldn't tell them no. I very much appreciated the help. Plus, Dan did a better job with the sprayer than I was doing. John and I worked behind him rolling the paint in. Rolling it is necessary to get the paint applied evenly as well as giving it a nice finished look. A couple hours later and the primer was done as well as painting the ceiling.

After they left I got busy applying paint to the walls. I knew that whatever I didn't get done tonight would have to be done tomorrow so it was in my best interest to get as much done as I could. I worked till 9:30pm before finally saying 'uncle'. I'd had enough and my eyes were giving out on me plus I was getting real tired of tripping over the halogen lamp I was toting around next to me so I could better see my work. I was able to get the first coat of paint applied to Rachel's dance room and half of the main south wall in the other room. I think the most putzy part of the job was the trim along the top of the walls next to the ceiling. I was able to load up my 4" brush with paint and run a fairly straight line. I tried using the straight edge I'd bought on Dan's recommendation but it didn't work so well for me. Tammy will come behind me and touch up any spots which need it.

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Day Twenty Nine

Today was a frustrating day for Dan. The self leveling compound on the floor in the bathroom began to crack and deteriorate. Dan put the compound down over the heated coils for the floor. I first noticed it last night when I stepped in there and the floor felt spongy. I didn't make much of it as the light was out but I did notice some cracks in the cement. We're still not sure exactly what happened. It's possible the compound was mixed with too much water when it went down and it didn't set up correctly but that's just a guess. Before working on the basement I'd painted the walls and a 2 foot width of the floor along the walls with a moisture barrier paint. For whatever reason, the self leveling compound adhered fine where it was applied over their paint. Anyway, we've decided to forgo the heated floor as we're all a little concerned that the same thing might happen again and if it does the tile will be down and that would be a much bigger problem.

I went to Home Depot and rented a paint sprayer. I had high hopes for getting the rooms all prepped and the primer applied before Dan and John showed up the next morning but I didn't make it. The prep work took much longer than I planned and by the time I began spraying it was 9:00pm. I'd been up since 4:30am and was quickly running out of energy...I packed it in at 10:30. I knew this was going to be a big job.

Tammy worked at getting all the gunk and scraps off the floor. There is so much dust in our house that it's almost laughable. I don't think Tammy's finding much to laugh about though but we knew this would happen. Dan and John both commented that they'd never seen quite this much dust in any of their previous jobs. They said it was a combination of sheetrock sanding and taking up the self leveling compound in the bathroom.

Today was a long day for all of us.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Day Twenty Eight

There wasn't any activity on the project yesterday as Dick had to be at another site to hang drywall. There isn't much for Dan to do until the drywall is done. Dick arrived this afternoon to spray the 'knockdown' ceilings. He had a slow start as his gun was acting up. A friend of his came by and together they made quick work of the job. I'd never watched the knockdown process and I'm guessing it looks easier than it is.

I stopped by Home Depot and picked up some supplies for painting...respirator, rollers, brush, straight edge and other miscellaneous stuff. I'll be renting a sprayer from Home Depot to help the job along.

Dick is still here as I write this and I don't suppose he'll be out of here much before 7:00 tonight. He says that tomorrow he should be done with the entire job by late morning to early afternoon. Getting the floors cleaned up will be nice so Toby and Allie can run around downstairs without getting full of dust.

I finished cutting glass for the lamp tonight. Tammy will see how much of it she can get ground tomorrow. I'm thinking I probably won't be able to find the time to solder it for another week or so. We still haven't given much thought to what sort of design we're going to do for the stained glass in the cabinets. Eventually we'd like to have windows which we'll change out depending on the time of year. Maybe something for Christmas, Spring, Fall or whatever.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Day Twenty Seven

Work continued today on mudding the sheetrock. Dick plans for me to be able to begin painting sometime on Friday. As it looks, I'm going to need as much of Friday as I can get and all of Saturday to get it done. Tammy has to work this weekend so I'll be solo much of the time. It'll be nice to have that job behind us.

We got a good amount done on the lamp over the weekend and I'm hoping to be ready to solder it by next week. Our two wall sconces arrived at Southern Lights so now all we're waiting for is the one remaining pendant light which is on back order from Belacore. It was supposed to be in sometime in late November so I suppose I should give them a call to check its status.

Our flooring for the dance room arrived on Friday as did most of the tile for the bathroom. Dan will have plenty to keep him busy once the painting is done.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Day Twenty Six

This is Dick Wilson, our drywall professional. Dick finished putting on the 2nd layer of mud today. I think he plans to do one more layer this coming Monday and then the sanding will begin. I'm guessing that's when the dust will really make its way through our home.

Dan spent the day working at finishing up another job in our neighborhood. He'll be back on Friday. I think we're all looking forward to seeing the sauna go in but that won't be for another couple weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Day Twenty Five

Our house is becoming more humid as the sheetrock work continues. I had to take out the dehumidifier to try and help dry us out. I'm guessing the moisture is coming from the mud being put on the walls. Dick put on the second coat of mud today and will do a third tomorrow.

On Dan and John's advice I went out and bought a couple paint sticks in prep for painting. The paint stick sucks up paint into the long handle of the roller and it's squeezed out onto the roller as you paint making the job much quicker. We're going to rent a sprayer from Home Depot for applying the primer coat and painting the ceiling. We'll roll the walls. I think we're going with a sage green just as we did on our main level in the family room and the stairway leading to the basement. Tammy was thinking of a light rust color for the bathroom but we're really not sure. It might be time to consult with Rachel. I trust her judgment when it comes to color although I'm not too keen on her latest choices for her bathroom...too shocking for my weary eyes.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Day Twenty Four

Our home has been invaded by a light film of dust which is everywhere. It's a sign of progress though so there's no cause for alarm. They finished hanging the last half dozen or so pieces of sheetrock this morning then Dick put his stilts on and got busy working his magic taping and mudding. Tammy thought Dick must've stayed here until around 7:00pm. I know he's got another job next week so he needs to get this one wrapped up before Thanksgiving.

Our sauna in a box arrived at Menards and Dan and John picked it up and loaded it into the garage.

My neighbor across the street is having an addition put onto his garage. His crew didn't show up today and I told him it's too bad because we could have had one of those challenges we used to have at the pep-fests in high know, where you'd shout 'we've got spirit yes we do, we've got spirit, how 'bout you?!' We could see who has the crew with the most spirit. Don't worry, Dan...I'm only joking.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Day Twenty Three

What a change a day can make. They got 95% of the sheetrock up and have only the bathroom and storage closet to do. They'll finish it on Monday and then begin taping. The taping and mudding is expected to take about 4 days. Dick has been hanging sheetrock for I think most of his adult life. Here he is setting in one of the arches. To get it to bend into shape he set the piece out on the driveway in the rain to soften it and then set it aside for a couple hours before putting it in place.

All that remained was a pile of debris which I got rid of after everyone went home. It's looking so nice down there now that you can walk through the rooms and get a feel for their size.

Hopefully the sauna will come next week and that can go in. I think Dan expected it to be here by now.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Day Twenty Two

Well whatdya know...we passed our electrical inspection this morning. We also passed the mechanical inspection and were given the green light to begin sheetrocking. Watch closely and see if you agree that it appears Dan and Dick are rehearsing for a spot in the Village People's new lineup...Roll the video. Okay, I was exaggerating there but I couldn't help but notice the choreographed moves. They got the rooms 'capped' (ceiling's done) today and will finish the walls tomorrow. Taping will be a four day project and then Tammy and I get to step up and show our stuff with paint brushes and rollers.

Having the ceiling's drywalled gives the ceiling a much higher appearance. It's very noticeable how the acoustics are changing daily in the rooms. It seems your voice doesn't carry at all like it used to when it was wide open. Tammy mentioned to me that Dan told her it's best to not sweep the floors in the basement until the taping is done. It may get a little messy over the next few days but the added sheetrock dust on the floor helps make cleanup of dripped and splattered mud easier to do. It's sort of like adding flour to a cookie sheet before putting down the doe.

Dan, John and I had some serious discussions today about grocery shopping among other things. Did you know that it's much cheaper to buy cereal in the bags rather than boxes? The bags are resealable so there's no need to have a Tupper Ware container at the ready when you break them open. It's nice to know that we grown up men haven't lost our taste for good wholesome cereal like Cocoa Puffs and Capn Crunch...the stuff strong bodies are made of.

There's a reason our freezer has been sitting out in the open for the past several days. Anybody care to hazard a guess? Here's a clue.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Day Twenty One

Dan and John spent today installing the heated floor coils in the bathroom. The thought crossed my mind before we ever started the project that it would be nice to have a heated floor in the bathroom but it wasn't until Dan mentioned it that I said anything about it. I know my Finnish ancestors were known to step from their saunas and jump into ice cold waters through holes they'd cut in the ice but we're a different breed today. We like to step from our saunas onto nicely warmed ceramic tile so as not to shock our systems too much. Once the heat coils were installed they poured a self leveling cement compound over the entire floor. It goes on very wet but by tomorrow it should be just about ready for traffic.

The beautiful job John did yesterday of installing the 8 way cable splitter/amplifier was all for naught. The cable guy came today and he said there was too much amplification coming from it and that it would have to be taken out. Our signal had some interference yesterday and we thought maybe it was the wet weather and the outside connection. It appears our signal is just fine coming into the house. Before he left he changed out all the cable ends and put in some new splices for us. The TV picture looks good now and hopefully when the two extra TVs go online it will still be just as fine.

Before Dan left, he and Tammy reinstalled the seat cover in his truck. It's not perfect but it's a whole lot better than it was and hopefully the new fix will keep it from ripping any further.

We got in two of the three pendant lamps we ordered. The last one won't arrive for a few weeks as it's on back order. In the photo they look to be different sizes but they're the same. They'll hang above the bar.

The electrical inspector returns tomorrow morning and we'll also have the mechanical inspection done after he's finished. Providing we pass both of those checks they'll begin putting up sheetrock tomorrow. The plan was for us to be able to paint over Thanksgiving weekend but I don't think that's going to be possible. I told Dan that if we didn't make our 3rd week in December finish date it was okay as we don't have anything planned as far as hosting any family get-togethers. If we don't finish until after the new year that's okay.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Day Twenty

This morning got off to a hectic start for Tammy as she had just gotten out of the shower and was trying to get coffee on while a neighbor was phoning, concerned that there was a truck with a load of sheetrock outside our house. Tammy figured she should back her car out of the garage in case the guys wanted to offload through there. She went to back her car out of the garage to make room for them to offload the sheetrock but in the process she forgot to close her car door and it caught on the side of the garage and pushed her car door out of whack. She phoned me at work to see if I knew how to reach Dan and to tell me about the car. I could tell she was feeling stressed but I was just going into the sector and she would have to wait until I was on break in an hour or so. I gave her Dan's celphone but she wasn't able to reach him. When I got on break I phoned her and found that the house alarm was now going off and it couldn't be silenced. I took the rest of the day off to see if I could help calm the waters at home.

I got home a little before 10:00 and checked out the car. You could see where the top of the door was bowed out and it no longer seated flush. I met Tammy inside and I could tell right away that she was in need of a hug. She had a few tears and she was very embarrassed. I told her about a friend at work who did a very similar thing except he caught his door on a tree. Dan sent me to Apple Valley Collision where they had me in and out in 10 minutes. They had a few guys in back push the bowed part back into place and unless you look closely it's pretty hard to tell. I tried to pay them but they said not to bother. I made sure they knew that Dan sent me and I headed home to try and relieve Tammy's worries. There's a bit of an air leak now and you have to use a bit more force when closing the door but other than that it's okay.

It's time for some humor before I go any further. Turn up your speakers and click here.

I arrived home to find a crew of guys offloading sheetrock through the front door and into the basement. Dan uses two different thickness of sheetrock. He uses the normal thickness in the walls but beefs up the ceilings by using 5/8 so it helps reduce noise between the upper and lower levels. Dan and John finished insulating the ceiling and then worked on hooking up the cable tv wires and the new 8 way amplified splitter I bought. Toby and Allie watched. They got it all hooked up only to find that the reception was a bit sucky. We figured it was the damp air and a bad splice at the cable box outside. I've got Charter Cable coming out tomorrow to redo the splice with one which is meant for the outdoors as the one that's in there now isn't.

Dan mentioned to Tammy that he's got a rip in the upholstery of his truck and wondered if she has any experience fixing something like that. We went out to take a look at it and decided what the heck...let's give it a go. I think we can fix that...with stress being put on the word 'think'. No guarantees here. We went out and got one of those leather/vinyl repair kits and brought the seat cover downstairs to put some light on it. As of this writing we've completed 4 of 9 steps and we should know in a couple hours if the project was a success of a bitter failure.

I scanned some photos of the laminate samples we picked out last weekend. Here's a sample of the counter tops we'll be using in the kitchenette, bar and the bar top on the half wall. Keith didn't have an extra sample of the laminate we picked out for the bathroom but it's kinda's got a very subtle fallen leaf pattern on it. We found this sample in Keith's laminate selection which very closely resembles the hardwood floors which will be going in Rachel's dance room.

We're still waiting while the electrical inspector lords his power over us. We need him back for a quick 2 minute inspection but he's still apparently upset that we missed our initial appointment with him yesterday and we are going to pay and pay and pay...sir, yes sir! We were hoping to begin rocking the project tomorrow but now it won't be till sometime Thursday at the earliest..after the re-inspection. I suppose the lull gives Dan and John time to do some putzy stuff such as the central vac hookup which they've got planned for tomorrow...and a bit more time to play with the pups.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Day Nineteen

After a false start early on we were able to get the electrical work inspected just before noon. The inspector found a few small items which amounted to about 30 minutes of work but he then told Dan that he wouldn't be able to return to do the reinspection until Thursday. It's hard to imagine that the inspector couldn't find two minutes out his schedule between now and Thursday to sign off on the work so the drywall can go up beginning Wednesday. Dan will call the city in the morning and see if there is any way to get him back sooner.

The insulation went up and it made the basement a whole lot quieter, not to mention it gave it a much different look. You can more easily see the outline of the rooms.

Over the weekend, Tammy and I went to Keith's shop and picked out a couple laminates to use for counter tops. We went to Menards and picked out a small refrigerator to go under the counter in the kitchenette. We also bought a a sink for the bathroom and ordered one for the kitchenette. There aren't a whole lot of decisions left for us to make aside from the stained glass we're going to use in the cabinets. It's all just a matter of watching it come together at this point.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Day Eighteen

Bring on the inspectors. I'll get lost Monday morning while the inspector comes through at 8:30. Dan and John will be here working and will field any questions the inspector may have for me. I spent time working on the lamp while Tammy took a break.

Seth, from Clearview Glass will be by on Monday to measure for the glass wall in the dance room.

I think Dan plans to tie into the central vac from the basement on Monday and take care of any discrepancies the inspector finds.

We're expecting the sauna to arrive any day. It's a Polar Sauna kit Dan ordered through Menards.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Day Seventeen

Dan and John took care of the odds and ends of the electrical today. John took on a job which I don't think anyone really wanted...fixing the cable tv wire which runs from the main box in the glass shop and serves the tv in the kitchen. It was running along the wrong side of the main beam and had to be rerouted. I played around with it the other night but I wimped out and went to bed before getting anywhere with it. How many tv sets do you need in your home? We've counted 8 in ours. I'm a bit worried with that many sets that the signal strength to each will be diminished as it gets spread thin among so many sets. Dan suggested I buy an amplified splitter. I couldn't find any locally so I ordered one online.

Tammy did a bunch of grinding and foiling today. Rachel came home from school and placed the pieces on the lamp mold. I cleared out the utility room in preparation for our upcoming electrical inspection on Monday. Dan mentioned that the inspector would frown on us using it as a storage space so I moved everything to the garage.

Dan came through with another idea which I liked a lot. He suggested I get a rear center speaker for the surround sound. I have two rear speakers but with the shape of the room and the placement of the speakers I'm worried that the sound will be hard to manage so it's distributed evenly. A rear center speaker will go a long way toward solving that problem.

Tammy and I are sitting here brainstorming as I type this trying to come up with the name of a stained glass company which we'd like to launch some time soon. Tammy just now came up with 'Grapevine Glass Design'. We wanted it to have a Christian connotation and grapevine does that for us..."I am the vine and you are the branches". I'm not sure where we'll go from here but I know Tammy has been wanting to do something like this for a while. I've been a bit ambivalent about it because I'm afraid the hobby I enjoy working on for a few months every winter will become more of a chore and an obligation. I think she's right though. We can begin by dipping our toes in the water and wading in slowly. I may have to give Jerry a call and ask him for advice on getting started.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Day Sixteen

Day sixteen and the electrical is nearly completed. Exhaust fans were installed in the sauna and bathroom and canned lights were put in place in the main room and kitchenette. Keith came by later in the afternoon and caught something I'd let slip outlet for some lights in the entertainment center. There are so many hours which go into the electrical work. It seems by far the most labor intensive part of the job to this point.

We're trying to take all the little things into consideration before the sheet rock goes up. One of those being the electronic dart board. Keith is going to make a cabinet for it and will hide the outlet which serves it at the same time. No doubt we'll forget something we'll wish we'd remembered once the sheet rock has gone up but that's the way it goes. I think we've got most of the bases covered.

The plan now is to have that done on Monday and providing there are no problems, Dan and John will do the insulation and prep work for sheet rock which will go up starting Wednesday. We were hoping to have the electrical inspection done this Friday but the inspector couldn't fit us in.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Day Fifteen

Yes, I'm the one doing all the electrical work as you can see in this photo...wink wink. I met Dick today...he's the drywall man and he came today to work on the arches. He also let us know that the full arch in the doorway wouldn't meet code and that we'd have to change it. To meet code the arch would have to begin at least 7 feet above the floor and ours began at a little over 6 feet. So Dick changed the arch to match the one next to it above the half wall. It's actually the way Tammy wanted it in the first place so as they say, 'it's all good'.

As it turned out I was able to leave work early and get here before Dan arrived...I suppose it helped that he overslept but I wasn't going to mention that. ;) Anyway, I was glad I was here as we were able to walk through the rooms together and he could pick my brain about how I wanted the switches to work and their placement as well as the number of lights and their placement.

They got the lighting for the dance room done using a total of 6 can lights and one wall sconce...oh, and a couple cans in the closet.

Tammy got a bunch more work done on the lamp and I watched another day slip away where I could've gotten some work done on it but didn't. But I did get to ride today so that was good...I don't suppose there's any correlation between me riding and not getting any work done on the lamp. I won't get to it till Thursday at the earliest now.

Okay, that's it...I'm half asleep as it is so I'm outta here.

Monday, November 8, 2004

Day Fourteen

Dan and John got a lot done today. I showed them the design for the arches I came up with and Dan thought it would be fine. I think it will look nice when it's done but it does take a bit of imagination at this point to picture it. I just hope it's not too much of a hassle for them to make it does seem like it may be.

They got busy right away drilling holes and running wire for the sub-panel in the utility room. Dan also got us to rethink the placement of our future kiln. Rather than have it out in the open in the basement near the storage closet, we're going to have it set up in the utility room. That makes sense in so many ways. First, it allows us to have a run of less than 50 feet from the outside panel to the kiln which is what is recommended. Second, any fumes created will easily be vented outside and not into any of our living areas and lastly, it's not sitting taking up space in the finished part of our basement.

I was hoping to get off work tomorrow so I could meet with Dan and go over the placement of the overhead lighting and switches. It's not looking good for taking the day off so when I got home tonight Tammy and I spent some time in the basement making a list for Dan of where we'd like stuff. I'll give him a call in the morning and see if he needs any more input.

Friday, November 5, 2004

Day Thirteen

I think Dan was intending to finish up the woodworking part of the project but it looks like they came up just a bit shy of that goal today. The basement has come a long way in a week. They finished framing in the bathroom which included cobbling around the ductwork into the utility room. All they have left to do is to finish framing the arches in for the entry into Rachel's dance room and the half wall. They've got the other sections made up and ready to be nailed in place. An arch was one of the first ideas Dan came up with when he first saw the basement and began thinking out loud about what we could do with it. I liked the idea immediately as I think it adds a nice look to it.

I left early for Minneapolis to try and locate a certain lamp repair store on Lake Street. I wasn't sure if they even existed anymore and I didn't know their name but I knew about where they used to be located. Anyway, I found the store, Moen Electric, but they didn't open for another hour so I got to drive around south Minneapolis and take in the culture.

I got what I needed from Moen and headed for home. We've got to get busy on our lamp as this past week saw very little progress least on my end. Tammy got a bunch of grinding and foiling done so that's a huge help.

Dan and John will put on their electrician hats for Monday and Tuesday.

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Day Twelve

The roughing in of the walls is all but done. Here's a view looking toward the sauna with the kitchenette to the left. This view shows the other side of the kitchen area and again you can see the sauna on the right. Notice that the ceiling in the sauna is 7 ft which should help it to heat quicker. Dan and John do some things in the way of construction techniques which go beyond what is expected of them. This photo shows a support they use to make sure the ceiling will never sag. The 2 X 4s would most likely be fine on their own but to make sure that over time the ceiling never sags under its weight they've anchored it to the main level above.

I'm not sure what is next; either the arches or the electrical work. I think it's the arches because Dan mentioned they'll be doing electrical on Monday and Tuesday next week. Dan said the electrical work gets a bit messy with all the drilling and running of wires. We still have to finalize the placement of all the ceiling can lights and wall switches with Dan.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Day Eleven

Today saw more work on the bathroom/sauna portion of the project. In this photo they're putting up a wall between the sauna and bathroom. Dan is standing in water because a valve they installed didn't work properly and when the water was turned on it ran all over the floor. Dan ordered the sauna kit and it should arrive maybe late next week. This will be the first sauna he's done.

While Dan and John were working on building the wall I decided to mark out a spot on the floor directly below where the lamp will hang above the pool table. The freezer sat right in my line of measurement but I figured I could maneuver the tape measure under it and find the wall behind. The tape went under just fine and found the wall behind it but getting it back out was another story. It got hung up and I couldn't get it out. I tried to act like nothing was wrong and I wasn't even sure if they knew I was having a problem. After a little while Dan says 'whatchya doin' Kev?' 'Oh, just measuring for the lamp.' All the while I'm thinking what a putz I these guys are doing all this other stuff which is way beyond me and I'm struggling with a stupid tape measure which I've gotten stuck under the freezer. I finally got the tape unstuck and went upstairs to get some sleep as I've got the all night shift tonight.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Day Ten

Dan and John worked on the plumbing today. They ran water lines for the sink in the kitchenette and bathroom as well as some pipes for venting. They also laid the shower base in place. I ran wire for the surround sound to three of the five speakers. I've got just enough to finish the other two speakers if I make the cuts sparingly. I don't want to have to cut into a new roll for just a couple feet of wire...I'd much rather take it back as this Monster cable I'm using isn't cheap. Chance came by and finished the duct work tonight.

An idea we stumbled upon last week at J. Ring Glass was to put a vent in the glass shop to help maintain the air quality when we're soldering and doing future torch work. We're going to cut a hole in the wall between the shop and the utility room and I'll be able to run some flexible pipe from the work table to the hole where it will be vented into the garage. I haven't made up my mind if the fumes from soldering are dangerous but for sure the fumes from doing torch work with glass fusing are. Many people are worried when working with solder that the fumes contain lead but it's my understanding that they don't. The smoke comes from the flux from what little reading I've done. Anyway, it won't matter once we get the ventilation in place.

Monday, November 1, 2004

Day Nine

There wasn't anything done on the basement today. Keith came by and took some measurements now that the walls have been roughed in.

I ran the cable for the TVs and figured out where I want to put the surround sound speakers. I'll run those wires tomorrow night.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Day Eight

We're the only ones on our block with our own personal dumpster. This makes garbage hauling a whole lot easier and cheaper than running to the dump in Burnsville and paying $50+ a load.

Tammy and I went to J. Ring Glass Studios in Mpls this morning and got the rest of the glass for the Tulip lamp we're making. We've taken an interest lately in getting involved in 'warm' glass. Warm glass is a reference to working with a kiln. Dan will be wiring us a special dedicated circuit for a future kiln. We'd like to play around with warm glass some this Winter but we'll have to wait and see if it's in the budget or not.

Now we know why Dan and John like Menards so much more than Home Depot. We stopped by the 'orange' store to look at shower doors and waited and waited and waited for someone to help us. We finally gave up and went to Menards where we were immediately helped and had our order written up within ten minutes of walking in the door. They get first shot at my business in the future.

They roughed in the storage closet and most of the rest of the walls and next week they'll spend working on electrical, plumbing and some insulation...I think I got that right. The week after next should see the dry wall up and ready for inspection.

Tim stopped by and we gave him the grand tour. You've got to use your imagination at this point but he got a good idea of our plans.

Where we go to church at Hosanna they did a very cool thing where before carpet went down on the new addition's floor, people came in and wrote Bible verses on the concrete. If you were to lift up the carpet you'd find the floor covered in scripture written with magic marker. Tammy had the idea to do the same thing with our basement. We didn't just use the floor though as we've got verses and notes written all over the walls and studs too. Who knows by who but someday our messages will be read again. In the mean time I like the idea that our basement is enveloped in scripture.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Day Seven

The walls continue to be roughed in. Today they worked around the area of the bar and window. One thing that I've noticed about Dan and John is that they take a lot of pride in their work. There are many shortcuts they could take but they choose to put in the extra effort to do it right knowing that most people probably wouldn't even be able to tell the difference. They also went out and bought the rest of the lumber needed to finish building the walls.

Chance, the guy working on the heating ducts also came by tonight and ran the necessary ducts. That was a noisy job. He was a little short on materials so he'll be back tomorrow to finish. Here's a little bit of what he did.

I went to BestBuy and bought the surround sound for the project. I was able to spend a few minutes talking with Brent before he had to go to a manager's meeting. He told me there was a good chance that he's about to be promoted to a higher management position by this weekend. He's looking real good and it was obvious when I first saw him that he's been working out.

I bought the same Klipshe Quintet system we have upstairs. It works fine there and I know it will be just fine for the basement. One upgrade I made was buying Monster cables for the project. I've always thought that sort of thing was overrated but I went ahead and did it anyway. Brent thought it was money well spent too.

Tammy spent today making Halloween costumes for Allie and Toby...they're going to be little clowns whether they like it or not...I don't think they're going to like it. I have to work Halloween night so I'll have to miss the fun but I'm sure they'll be a hit with the kids if we can get them to keep the outfits on. They're so cute.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Day Six

They worked on roughing in the walls for the sauna and bathroom today as well as reconstructing the bottom of the stairway leading into the basement. That had to be torn apart so they could install the laminated beams. It's going to really start moving now Dan was saying so we need to get moving too on all the little details such as fixtures and wall sconces and the placement of outlets and switches. I think we're looking at hanging drywall in a couple weeks.

Here's a copy of the floor plan to give you an idea of where we're going with this. The only thing left out are Keith's cabinets and entertainment center and the bar extending at an angle off of the kitchenette.

Dan was mentioning last night that it would be a good idea to run a cable for a future tv to the bar. I hadn't really thought about that as I didn't see a need for one but the more I thought about it the more I think it's a good idea. I mentioned it to Keith and he said he'd already suggested that to me. I've been preoccupied lately so it doesn't surprise me that it went in one ear and out the other. For that matter, the same thing happened with Keith's suggestion of a bar. I approached him later saying I thought we'd like a bar and he said he'd already suggested that to me but I didn't seem to want to do it. I do vaguely remember that conversation. I dunno...maybe I'm not riding enough with this colder weather and my head is elsewhere. :)