Friday, December 30, 2011

While I originally had all these plans for how productive I was going to be during my 2-week break, sadly, I did not meet anywhere close to what I had originally hoped to accomplish - due in no small part to my laziness and desire to catch up on video games I had neglected instead of work on the house.

That isn't to say, however, that things were not accomplished around the house. With New Year's Eve weekend bearing down on me, I have considerable doubts that I will get anything else done. With that in mind, I did amount to a bit of productivity over the last week.
  • Sheet rock in the bathroom closet is not hung, with open spaces to support access to bath shut-off valves
  • Sheet rock in the hallway linen closet about 2/3 complete. I ran out of substantially sized pieces of sheetrock and will need to get more in order to complete that portion of the closet
  • Firewood with carpenter ants chilling out in it have been exposed to the elements and hosed down with a ton of ant killer. I will likely give those pieces of wood another glazing before I am willing to add them to the stack
Beyond those three things, I do have one thing that I need to undo. I did not do the greatest job in applying the sealant around the edge of the tub. Additionally, in my wisdom, I primed after adding the sealant, which makes the sealant look like even more garbage. Next week, I will be taking a knife to the sealant to get it removed, properly painted and then reapply.

I have also been thinking about the next steps for finishing off the bathroom. One of the nice things about this house is the abundance of bathrooms, so having portions of any one bath out of commission is not a deal breaker. I think I will, over the course of the next month or so, do the following (in order):
  • Remove old toilet, vanity and mirror. Wasn't planning on reusing any of those and they are just making having multiple people in that room difficult.
  • Proceed with the demolition of the bathroom walls. Get the remainder of the exterior-facing wall re-insulated/vapor barriered. Hang new drywall where needed - leaving the sink-wall untouched so that wires can be run for new outlets.
  • With old fixtures removed, tear up the tile/concrete mess that is the floor and replace it with plywood and some finished flooring treatment (large tiles, perhaps). 
  • Once the flooring is done, I can install the new toilet - this way the bathroom is at least a bit more functional.
  • Install electrical outlets and get a vent fan set up in the ceiling. The bathroom currently has two lights that run off one switch (ceiling and vanity) - may break the ceiling off on to its own switch and keep the vanity fixture where it is (but replace it with new hardware - not a huge fan of the tulip lights...)
  • Once electrical is done, finish hanging sheetrock, paint and install sink/vanity.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ever since moving in, I have been pretty slow to complete the various projects I have going around the house. I keep three excuses for my procrastination handy - either I have other things to do outside of work/house, other more important house-related issues pop up or I am just too tired/lazy after getting home from work.

As I usually do around Christmas time, I've taken an extended vacation to get my PTO balance down. The goal of these two weeks is to get little projects handled and prepare the house for the winter that has not yet happened.

Thanks to the distraction of Christmas shopping, I haven't really gotten around to many of the little projects yet. I have, however, accomplished a couple of small feats around the house and hope to wrap up a couple more before I go north for a few days for Christmas.
  • The new bathroom closet and enlarged linen closet have been framed. Between my own inexperience doing such things and a couple of the 2x4's being warped, I can't claim it to be the best job of framing ever but it doesn't look completely horrible. Also, as a side effect of framing the closets, the hole in the wall in the soon-to-be office is also framed.
  • The corner beading by the tub and sheetrock about the bathroom closet have been hit with two coats of joint compound. They are now ready to be sanded, cleaned and primed/painted.
  • The wall in the soon-to-be office is now filled with a panel of sheetrock. The aforementioned warped 2x4s mean that things don't like up exactly in the middle (but top and bottom is good). I am going to need to tear out the base boards in order to be able to really finish the sheetrock. I was not pleased to discover that the floors appear to have been installed after the base boards and which resulted in me accidentally destroying a good portion of one wall's worth. Guess I'll just have to redo the base boards when it comes time to renovate that room.
  • And lastly, I finally got around to finishing off the wood pile. Everything that I could split with an axe is now cut and stacked (since it was a nice 60 degrees outside, I opted to do this over handing more sheet rock or painting). I have two small piles of wood that remain - one that is split but had carpenter ants in it (which I will be bug bombing and leaving to exposure tomorrow) and one that I may have to rent a splitter for (they are all either awkward shapes or have massive knots in them that my axe won't split through). When all the wood is handled, I will have about a cord's worth that will sit and dry for next fall.
So, yeah. Not the busiest I could be on the house but I've been getting small projects out of the way. My primary goal for tomorrow is to get the sheetrock in the bathroom sanded, cleaned up and hit with a coat of primer at least. If I get going early enough, I may be able to do a second coat of primer. At that point, the bathroom will be a top coat away and seal pass away from being usable as a shower (that is, until the rest of the bathroom goes under the scalpel).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I've been slacking the past couple of weeks, ever since Thanksgiving weekend - so here are a few updates!

Inside the house, I am slowly working on the bathroom. It only took me a couple of weeks but I have finally gotten around to getting the beading in place and finishing up putting the joint compound around the shower. It's not the greatest job joint compound job ever but it is at a point now where I can sand it up and start priming right around the shower/tub. I also need to get things in the closet spaces framed in - depending on how far along I get with the fire wood (and how tired I am after the fire wood) I will try to get at least the measurements done today.

Outside of the house has also seen little progress. The weather here after Thanksgiving and up until this past weekend has been oddly unseasonal. This meant that it was plenty warm enough out to get all the leaves taken care of. After piling up a dozen bags at the curb, I decided I would rather just rake them all onto a tarp and drag them out to the back of the property and begin a mulch pile. This made dealing with the leaves much easier.

The wood pile is still there and slowly getting split and stacked. In fact, after I finish writing this, I will be spending my afternoon outside working on that pile. Once the pile is done, I can then finish taking care of the rest of the leaves beside the driveway and in the lower half of the backyard.

It only took about a month, but I was finally able to get a pair of estimates from two different contractors for the repairs needed on the chimney that was hit by the tree. I was also able to get the ball rolling with the insurance company (which was a pain in the ass...). As it stands now, I am waiting for the Adjuster to have his chimney contractor contact me to schedule a time to come and evaluate the chimney (because of how much both places estimated). My worry is that by the time insurance is able to confirm and pay out, the winter weather will have set in and I won't be able to get it fixed until spring. With their estimates being as high as they were, I can't float the fix on my own and really would like the insurance company to pick up the pace.

I did end up having one of the contractors I contacted for estimates come out and fix up the other chimney. Their work was good but more expensive that I think it should have been. They were also considerably pushy about getting started on the other chimney. As this is the first time I've ever had to deal with the contractors or the insurance company, I didn't need them laying on the pressure - so I will not be using those contractors again for the repairs on the other chimney.