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.