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.