Saturday, December 15, 2007

I'm Calling In Dead Sick Today

Weather Saves Old Body From Breaking Down...

Well, I've been nursing a bit of a head/chest cold this week--trying to beat it with a positive mental attitude and ZiCAM. I'd say right now that we've fought to a solid tie.

I've used up a half box of tissue while basically keeping things moving forward. I just had so much to do and it was really impractical to reschedule the deadlines with trucks and deliveries, but today I'm making an executive decision and staying off the jobsite to let my body rest.

The real final reason for today's absenteeism was the rain front that is blowing in this morning--that and the fact that all of the new wall framing has to be built outside in the front yard.

Since the giant gaping hole I tore in the front wall on Friday is temporarily closed up with OSB panels, I've decided things can wait until tomorrow or Monday to finish up the new framing and sheathing.

All is not lost however, as there's still the obligatory trip to Lowe's to buy some more supplies, then possibly brave a couple of stores looking for a TV card for the new server PC and some other personal stuff.

Y'all have a good weekend...if you will.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Some Concrete Giveth

And Some Concrete Must Be Taketh Away

I'm happy to report that the new concrete slab survived last evening unscathed, I found my lumber stockpile to be intact when I arrived to accept the delivery of the new windows yesterday morning, and now I'm pleased to announce...

(drum roll please)

that today is the final "Demolition Day" over on Wolfe Street in Brunswick, Georgia.

Thank GOD!

I've already worn out one cheep Skilsaw (actually a Ryobi) and one diamond blade cutting large holes in concrete walls, and the second sacrificial saw will be tossed into the construction dumpster sometime after it arrives later this morning.

After making about 50' of additional cuts in 4" and 8" cinder block walls in order to enlarge one rough bathroom door opening and more importantly, blow out a 12' wide section of the exterior front wall, the transformation of my old 1959 vintage duplex into an 1,100 square foot single family home will be complete.

Thank GOD!!!

The new floor plan features three bedrooms, two baths, a laundry/utility room, and a generous sized combination living/dining area attached to a good sized modern kitchen with lots of counter and cabinet space (by starter home standards.)

You could hardly turn around in the old efficiency plan living/kitchen areas of the duplex floor plan, but courtesy of my genius architectural efforts I'm ending up with a very livable like-new home that is only limited by the neighborhood.

Move it north or south about three miles and it would be worth an additional $50,000, but that disadvantage was factored into the price I payed for the property to begin with.

Any way, I dread holding onto that saw wearing safety glasses and a respirator for an hour making concrete dust, but the work has to be done and after that there will be another couple tons of concrete block chunks and other debris including things like sinks and toilets which have to be loaded into the dumpster.

Why I torture myself like this I'll never know, but I'm past the point of no return now. I have stacks of new windows and doors to install and siding to hang and other untold punch list items to accomplish, and unless Aliens beam me up to an orbiting UFO or out to Mars...I'll be on my job site bright and early tomorrow morning.

In the mean time, will someone please write an essay or at least a few nasty words for me about the silly woman they used to moderate the Republican & Democratic Debates in Iowa? Where do they get these women, and why are they always liberal Democrats?

I didn't like girls like that in college, and I have even less patience with them out here in the real world as an Adult. I'm sure they don't care much for me either, but ask me if I care.

Maybe it's just Me?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Concrete Solutions

Answers To Questions I Never Wanted To Ask...

I regret to tell you that after yesterday I've decided that I'm pretty sure that my body is getting too old to physically accomplish a good deal of the crap that my mind comes up with for me to do.

Due to medical reasons associated with my ever increasing age, over the past twenty five years I've stopped doing a number of things which I once loved to do--long distance running, flying airplanes, Slalom Water Skiing, and scuba diving easily come to mind --and I can add several of yesterday's tasks to that ever increasing list without the least regret.

A truck showed up about 9:30 AM with eight interior doors, a stack of OSB and exterior siding panels, and 1,760 pounds of pre-mixed dry concrete. By 9:45 their little fork lift had left me and my materials standing in my front yard scratching my body parts.

What the $#%@&* was I thinking?

I elected to save money by paying a single $59 delivery fee, but now I was looking at having to either use the material on Wednesday else move the excess inside so it could be locked away from the third world thugs theiving crack heads lovely local residents which had already elected to remove my kitchen sink and $5 worth of functioning copper pipe from the project over the past few years.

At my mind's request, my body poured, troweled, and floated a 6' wide by 12' long, 2" thick section of 4000 PSI concrete on top of an existing area of concrete in a little over two hours using a small electric mixer. ( For the experts out there that care, I even used a concrete bonding agent on the well cleaned existing 4" slab.)

Then I came home, stripped off my filthy clothes, and collapsed in a heap on the sofa.

I think that Pat was impressed with the process, and I have to emphatically state that if it weren't for her providing psychological support and measuring and hauling buckets of water back and forth between the kitchen and the mixer I'd probably still be there this morning frozen in a cloud of concrete dust.

The mixer was the the real lifesaver of the project, religiously handling two eighty pound bags of Quikrete and 2-1/2 gallons of water at a time. Together we mixed eleven batches--it seemed like one hundred and eleven--as I lugged the eighty pound bags from the pallet to the mixer drum, then rolled the sloppy load over and dumped it out inside the form work.

I also panicked as I mixed the last two loads because it looked like I was going to run out of cement before the form was filled completely, and I had ordered one extra bag of cement beyond the 21 bags recommended by the manufacturer's website material calculator.

Would you believe that I had less than a couple of shovels full of concrete left on the ground when I was finished?

I guess that the Construction Gods were smiling on me that day.

I was so tired that I ended up leaving the OSB and siding sitting on the front porch (something that is routine on most job sites), so I have to go back over this morning to move and stack it inside the front dining room and to meet the truck that will be delivering my new windows at 9 AM.

I sure hope that the wood is still there.

The new windows will also have to be moved inside to await beginning the process of their installation next Monday.

In the mean time I have some other final internal framing details to complete, and of course there is the inevitable trip to Lowe's for even more lumber and tools.

The best part of today's trip will be buying...


If I wasn't so tired I probably wouldn't have slept last night, but sleep I did, thus the lack of late posting.

I've got to go now and do some more reading on choosing a nailer so I can make a good selection.

Wish me luck, if you will...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Time To Mix The Concrete

I'm Tired Already...

We're scheduled to be at Lowe's when the doors open at 7:00 AM this morning, then pick up the cement mixer at 7:30 and wander over to the job site to get things started on what will be a loooooonnnnggggg day.

Pat's promised to hang around for the first two or three hours while we wait on the truck to deliver the materials, then lend a hand and dial 911 just in case I get my pants leg or ear tangled up in the cement mixer.

I'm actually pretty excited because this week will see the building footprint take it's final modified shape and by next week the external envelope will be finished except for paint and possibly some trim work.

I'm not setting any land speed records here, taking seven months give or take a little to do work that should have been done in less than 90 days...but hey, it's my project and I've had a darn good time doing virtually everything myself--just to prove that I can.

Next time I'll probably hire some help...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Feverish Procrastination

Putting Off The Inevitable...

Well, the bad news is that I didn't go to the jobsite yesterday.

Believe me when I say that it wasn't for lack of desire or effort. It was just clear at the last minute Sunday night that due to a lack of adequate planning on my part that there really wasn't much to do that couldn't be done on Tuesday because:

A. I had no idea where I was getting my concrete and...

B. I had no clue when I could get it delivered.

So by executive indecision, I stayed home to work around the house and order materials in anticipation of the week's work. It still ended up being a productive day regardless of the slow start.

In addition to getting a refinishing stain coat on an old crappy antique table we use in our entry foyer, I also got started staining one of my new home made nightstand tables, and a bunch of pictures got hung up on the guest bedroom walls using the laser level.

Also, as a result of having handed out my Visa Card number to Lowes on the telephone late yesterday, now I absolutely must leave our little island, drive across the causeway, and raise a dust storm for four or five hours this morning because sometime on Wednesday morning I have a ton of Quikrete, sixteen sheets of exterior siding board, some OSB, and eight interior doors arriving on a delivery truck.

Then there is the rented portable cement mixer...did I mention that I need one of those?

Well I do, and I have to admit that I'm a little afraid of the process.

The plan is to add a two inch thickness of concrete to a 6' x 12' area of an existing front porch slab so that I can extend the new dining room walls into the newly prepared area. In the process I've had to learn about concrete bonding agents (already purchased) and pray that running a cement mixer isn't that different from mixing cement in a wheelbarrow with a hoe.

Wish me luck, if you will ...

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Turbo Pup Takes On Santa

I'm Not Sure Who's More Uncomfortable...

Missy the Turbo Pup visited Pet Smart yesterday, and while she was there Pat tossed her into the "Pet Santa's" lap for a photo. Here, take a look:

If you've never before seen a little soon to be one year old Mini long haired Dachshund petrified with terror, you have now.

"Officer...Police...Pervert with a white beard in a red suit over Meeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

(I'm not sure if that was worth six bucks for one print with a cheesy frame, but we have it now and I scanned it violating the intellectual property rights contract because I don't care.)

A Day Off

And A Busy Week

As you may have noticed, I took yesterday off and didn't write anything. Sorry if you missed my ramblings, but if you write as much as I do your realize that sometimes you just have to give your fingers and your synapses a break for a little while.

Instead of ranting, what I did do on Sunday was a bunch of AutoCAD drawings, cleaned out and reorganized my garage again, built two round table tops for night stands from my drawings, hung curtains in the guest bedroom using my laser level, and started cutting parts for a Wooden Manger I've been promising to build for Pat's Nativity Scene figurines for two seasons now.

I basically can't turn around here without knocking over a Poinsettia plant or upsetting a garland or Wreath, and we haven't even purchased our Christmas Tree yet. I tossed up a string of white lights around the front door and a couple of strings into a big Nelly Stevens Holly bush adjacent to the entry, and I guess to balance things out I'll have to run over to Ace Hardware tomorrow and get a couple of extra strings to put on the big shrub on the other side of the doorway.

I've thus far been able to suppress any Turret's like explosions of Bah Humbug's or catatonic shivering fits, but I'm going to have to take Pat's car keys away from her if she keeps dragging more decorations home every time she walks out the door. I was informed that we already need a couple more Rubbermaid storage locker boxes to handle this years new festive "nick-knacks and paddy-whacks"...It's a girl thing...I know...

Later today I'm going over to Brunswick to finish the final concrete form work for the new front slab extension on my renovation project, pre-cutting the interior cinder block seams on the front wall in anticipation of blowing the wall section out, and doing final cutting of the two bathroom doorway openings in order to make them handicapped accessible when the new doors are installed next week.

The new custom windows are arriving on Wednesday, so this week looks to be quite busy as I push toward being ready for the Framing Inspection with the City Inspector shortly. Then it's plumbing, electrical, a new metal roof, and hopefully interior finish and trim in January.

It really is tough being me...