6/26 Tuesday -- I got to work around eleven or so. It was so hot just working on hooking up wires I was dripping sweat. When I say dripping I mean literally to the point where it was pouring onto the wires I was working with. Gross. I finished hooking up the switches before Tara's dad arrived. He helped me hang the last sheet in the kitchen and get the sheet up on the wall. He lent a hand with cleaning up while I ran to home depot to grab some pigtail lights. I just need something that will hold a bulb and give me a few more working hours each day, the light fixtures can actually get mounted later on. Finished the electric finally and everything worked without a hitch, score. I went to the basement with Mr. Sullivan and we finished drylocking the part that was still uncoated. Turns out there's another part of the basement wall that's a little hurting. My aunt mentioned a process called pilastering where you put up half blocks and fill them with concrete against the existing wall, it's something to look in to. At least the kitchen looks half way presentable. Once I figure out what to do with the rest of it I can really get somewhere.
6/23 Sunday – Had a bit of a late night last night so I arranged to meet up with Erik and Vic at 1:30. We came in and got started right away. The drywall hanger we rented from Home Depot was a great call. The $30 a day it costs to rent was well worth the headache it saved. I would help them get the drywall on the hanger then go work on straightening out the wiring situation in the kitchen while they screwed it up. The thing with the kitchen is that the ceiling fan that had been there was never wired into a wall switch, it just had a pull string. I don’t think the new fixture on the way has a pull string and I’d much rather have a wall switch regardless. After considering my options I decided to bridge the circuit from the ground fault outlet to the left of the sink to the ceiling fixture and the tract lighting for above the sink rather than using the existing wiring, it’ll be easier in the long run. I’ve got all the materials; I just need to do some more wall cutting to get feed the wires through. I may breakout the whole plaster wall where I’m wiring and put up more drywall and its place but I’ll have to wait and see what it comes to. After they had two panels up in the dining room I walked in and realized that we forgot to cut out the hole for the fixture in the dining room. We’ll have to go back for that. Anyway we got all but a single panel up where I need to finish the wiring so it was a big success and the ceilings already look a hundred times better. Progress feels good.
6/20 Wednesday -- I finished putting the chest back together and while it wasn't amazing, it certainly wasn't a failure. At any rate I don't think the turtle mind. I finished tearing down the ceiling in the kitchen and well, it's not pretty. However, without the panel that runs around above the cabinets it really does open up some space. Interestingly enough when I disconnected the one wall socket in the paneling I couldn't believe how it was hooked up. Whoever installed it could have used less wire and had ground fault protection on all of the socket just by hooking it up properly. I've only been doing electric for a week and even I know that. After the ceiling was down it was still fairly early and I decided to tackle the pool. I figure why have someone take the metal to a scrap yard and get money for it when I can just do it myself. It only took about an hour and a half to get it done. It really opens up a lot of space in the backyard. That's when Tara came to deliver me some food and I called it a day. Hospital work tomorrow at 8:30, ugh.
What the basement walls USED to look like
Good thing for roof racks
Not bad for $40
A resuscitated sink
Who needs a doctor when you can do it yourself
Some potential maybe?
$12 well spent on the garden bed
Will look pretty killer in the dining room
6/14 Thursday – Went to pickup the new filter system after work. As I was grabbing a sandwich in the mall I decided to open it up and take a look—good thing I did. It was missing the filter, mounting hardware, and instructions. I went back to return it and for some reason the exact same thing was $20 in store instead of the $30 I paid online. On the way home there was a lot of traffic so I tried to cut through a residential neighborhood. I got lost and as I was driving around there was a sign on the side of the road. My breaks squealed as I read ‘free firewood.’ I loaded up my trunk and back seat then headed the rest of the way home. I remembered seeing a sledge hammer and an axe in the root cellar so I grabbed those and got to chopping. On about the third log I snapped the sledge in half. I tried in vein to get the rest of the handle out of the head but now I just have a chisel stuck in there along with it. Tried the closer home depot for some random crap and possible a new sledge or handle. The sledges were all fairly expensive so I think I’ll just get a handle from harbor freight tomorrow. I did get a pegboard for the bench and some under sink fitting for the new system. Stopped home for a bit then went to grab the newest in the craigslist goodies, a practically new
6/15 Friday – Got out of work at the hospital around noon and headed to get the ‘marble’ counter top. Got there and it was marbleized formica covering. Debated whether it was still worth the $45 and decided to get it. Later on was thinking I’m sure I could have haggled down to like $30 for it. Brought that back on the roof racks which was interesting. The pools draining well enough that I was able to pull the cover off. The liner looks to be in pretty decent shape as does the whole pool, I just don’t want to deal with it. Should be easy enough to find someone to take it away. I brought Erik over to a pick-and-pull junkyard for a tire, though he wound up settling on a better donut and getting a new tire. It was $9 which got me to thinking I’m positive I could get a few parts and make a pretty decent markup on eBay. I think a donut in the shape that was in would got for $30 + $20 shipping pretty easily. I’m going to do some research on the best parts to do it with then probably get a load of $150 worth of parts or so to test the waters. Finally found a reasonably priced sledge hammer handle at Walmart along with some ripped bags of mulch for $1.50 each—I bought four. Back at the house I got to work splitting some more logs. My axe is now down to about six inches of handle left and it shot out of the log and caught me in the leg hard enough to leave a pretty good gouge. Paper towel and duct tape kept it under control until I made it into the lab later that night to suture it up. Spread a bag of mulch under the hedges and called it a day.
6/16 Saturday – Took the liberty of sleeping in today for a change. Went to Vic’s at noon to checkout the puppies and return a couple things. Decided to sweep up the root cellar. I got a lot of dirt up but there’s so much I think a hose and wet vac will be the best route. I want to get that room cleaned up so I can move some of the things off the basement floor and really go to work on that. There’s a concrete floor so it’s not like a dirt floor root cellar, though root cellar #2 doesn’t have that luxary. There was a decent size pile of bricks that I moved out to the front lawn to use as a garden border. You can’t beat free. On the way back from Vic’s I hit a couple garage sales; a $5 pull out drawer cabinet and a really nice 4’ x 4’ oil painting for $15 were among the highlights. I planned on refinishing the cabinet and took the belt sander to it but the paint just kept crapping up the belt—I’ll need to try some chemical stripping. I went to Home Depot and scored huge. The 5 gallon thing of drylock I saw the other day still wasn’t marked down but when I asked a guy he said he could do it then and take like half off (I was expecting it to go 10-15% off) so I now have enough to finish the whole basement including a second coat for $48 or about the what two gallons would have cost. The only thing wrong with the bucket is the spout broke off, not a big deal. I also picked up some stripping supplies, some stain, and a few bags of top soil. From there it was back to Vic’s to mooch a shovel. He also gave me a different striping solution to try as he said it was the best he had ever used, and he’s used a number. If it works I’ll buy some of that and return what I bought. Got back and dug up along the front porch for the garden bed. Then I layed down the bricks, spread top soil, and finally the mulch. Now I’ve got a garden bed that stretches across the front and runs down the side of the property along the hedges to the sidewalk. I must say for the $12 it cost me it looks very sharp. The neighbor checked it out and told me that’s the best the house had looked, ever. Still had a bit of energy so I cut up and bagged all the construction trash that had been sitting in the back yard. That did it for the day. Tomorrow I may pickup some annuals for the garden and strip the cabinet after I grab some gloves from the lab.
6/17 Sunday – Today I decided I was going to do a few ‘fun’ projects. I started working on stripping the cabinet I got. The circa 1850 stuff Vic gave me worked wonders, so much so I went out and bought another 4 liter can of it. Still, it took a long time to get through the whole cabinet. I was a little discouraged that it was actually a super shin sheet of veneer and plywood underneath that I kept digging through to with the sander. I got all the paint off still and decided that’d be enough. On the way home from
6/18 Monday – So I’ve got two major projects on the horizon but I need the hose draining the pool to get going on the basement and I need the chest cabinet finished to move the turtles out of the kitchen. I decided to stain the cabinet as it was one of the only easy short things to do. The stain didn’t take nearly as well as the bench did but that’s because the wood was pretty poor quality and the veneer sanded completely away in parts. In the end it could’ve looked worse. I left it to dry overnight so tomorrow the turtles should be on the move. The pool has another three inches or so to go too. I started to work on the website so that might be making its way to fruition in the not too distant future. Tara came over to watch a movie and we got about half way through when there was a knock at the door. It was some old man who said he grew up in the house and wanted to know if he could take a quick look. I didn’t see the harm (he was using a cane to get around) so I let him pop his head in. The next thing I know I’m standing there listening to his diatribe about the prisons he’s been in and his pain medication history for damn near a half hour. I kept looking at Tara and shrugging as there literally was no way to get out of the conversation. Like I said about a half hour later he wrapped up and I got him on his way. Tara was hysterical by the time he left and in tears about feeling safe in the house. While this guy was harmless everything I’ve heard about the boyfriend of the woman living here before points to him being a real dirt bag. Though I doubt there’s anything to worry about, a security system might be worth looking into. I changed all the locks with deadbolts and the only feasible window point of entry is the front porch, but it never hurts to be too careful.
6/7 Thursday – I got up early today planned on a nice day at work to makeup for yesterday. When I was eating breakfast I got a call from a guy selling a standup shower floor basin that I had messaged on craigslist. It’s a Maax brand basin, neo corner, rounded sides, 36.75”. It retails for $400, he was asking $200, and I offered $130 as that’s what I planned on spending for a cheaper one. He said that was fine and I took a ride over to grab it before work. I must say it’s pretty money. After that I headed into work at 11:30 and did some more craigslist surfing. Found a queen mattress and box spring set brand new sealed with warranty for $150. Called a left a message then setup an appointment for 3:30. Went to take a look at it and that set was shit but they had a bunch of others. Really liked the pillowtop set for $289 + tax. Was a little hesitant about spending that much but decided at worst it would be the same deal I’d get elsewhere and
6/8 Friday – Felt like shit today and by the time I made it back from work I wasn’t up for much. Tore down some shelving in the corner of the basement and hosed down a bit more wall. Only a little bit left that hasn’t been cleaned up. Febreezed the couch for a second time and took down the measurements for creating a cover. Got a few things at Walmart/HomeDepot and made it back like 10. Cleaned the kitchen. After that is was too late to really do anything that made noise so I tore up a small patch of carpet in the dining room. Really need to move some shit into the attic to make room before I do more but I bought nails to hammer some boards down tomorrow and I’ll be good to go. Hoping to really crank out some serious work this weekend.
6/9 Saturday – Saturday I spent most of the morning hammering down some boards across the trusses in the attic. Tore up the rest of the dining room carpet and threw a 6’ x 8’ patch of the last of it on the boards I nailed down. Now I at least have some storage space in the attic. I needed to move the last of my stuff out of the apartment by tomorrow so I loaded up my car and Erik followed me back with all of the paint in his. He helped pull tacks while I drew up plans for my work bench and marked off the wood I bought. We tried to drain the pool with the pump but that wasn’t happening. Took a nap after Erik left and by the time I was ready to go again it was too late to use any power tools so I went to do some more drylocking. Two and a half hours later I was out of drylock and over half the basement was done. Another 2 gallons and I’ll be good. Went to move the turtles to the house and by the time I was done it was 12:30 and I was beat.
6/10 Sunday – Went to the
6/11 Monday – Didn’t get out of work until four at which point I headed to Home Depot. After looking at options for coating the basement floor I was a little discouraged since the epoxy coating solutions were at least $40 per 250 sq ft (I’m looking to coat like 650 at least). There was an epoxy additive paint that was $25/gallon but I decided I’d hold off. Then I scored big at the Oops table. There were two gallons of concrete stain for $5 each. One was grayish black and the other brown but I figured I’ll just mix the two together and go with whatever color results, I’m not too concerned about the specific color of the basement floor. Harbor freight after that for a push broom and some rollers then it was off to Vic’s to try and get some help picking up the $50 electric stove I lined up on craigslist. Aunt Janet took a ride with me to pick it up and we left it in my backyard. Her arm has been bother her and I wasn’t about to ask her for help bringing it inside. Got my car from her house and had just enough time to have a glass of water before going to grab a dehumidifier for $75, another craigslist score. When I got back there was just enough daylight to install the motion sensing halogen lights I got in place of the standard outdoor light, well almost. I didn’t have enough time to mount it totally flush but it’s in place and working. It was about 9:30 and I needed to get the stove inside in case it rained. It was a lot of work but I managed to haul it into the kitchen myself. I got super discouraged when I plugged it in and had nothing. At this point I didn’t know if it was the line or the stove or even how to tell which was at fault. To top it off the shop light by my bench wasn’t working and I had it pegged for even more electric troubles with the house. Frustrated and exhausted I went to
6/12 Tuesday – Got out of work at 3 to hit the doctor because I have an ear infection—awesome. When I got back I the first order of business was trimming the hedges with the trimmer I borrow from Vic (the neighbor mentioned they were having trouble seeing over the growth when they pulled out into the street). Took an hour or so but I got the hedges cleaned up really nice. I also took it upon myself to cut the hedges from the other neighbor, who I’ve yet to meet, where they were growing over into my driveway. From there I tested the 220 line for the stove with my volt meter and had no readings to mater what I did. I headed to the basement to pull off the breaker cover and investigate further. Pulled off the breaker cover and almost laughed. The 220 line running from the kitchen was cut just after the point it entered the breaker housing and wasn’t hooked up to anything. It makes sense as a 220 line should have a double slot breaker and the only one of those was for the main electric in. It was the same deal with the 220 hookup for the drier too, good to know. Although I feel confident enough to install a 220 line, breaker space is getting a little tight so I’ll probably just resell the stove and go with gas appliances, it will be cheaper in the short and the long run. While I was at it I traced the line for the shoplight. The circuit actually used the light as a pass through and the light further down the line was still working. By the process of elimination it had to be the ballast. Must’ve been a quirk that it went the day after I got my bench setup but it is what it is. I went to Lowes to return the paint roller that snapped in half on me and pickup some electric supplies. A brand new lighting fixture, ballast included, cost half the price of the ballast alone—go figure. I got the new fixture as well as everything I would need to run a 20 amp line to my work bench. I figured with the current power tools can draw I’d be better off playing it safe @ 20 amps than going the cheaper route of a 15 amp setup. The light was actually the wall socket plug-in variety but I cut the AC cord and proceeded to hard wire it into my existing circuitry. I was super pumped when after an hour or so of installing it I flipped the switch and it powered right up. I rock. Day light was fading so I wasn’t going to get a chance to wire the new line into the breaker (I need to kill the electric when I do it and would be left in the dark) but I installed the outlets and ran the cords over to the breaker so that it should take all of 10 minutes to finish tomorrow. I’ll have 4 outlets right above my bench and a supply of all the power I could feasibly be drawing. I did manage to finish the wall mounted TV stand without trouble. After tomorrow when I hookup the line I’ll have a work area to be proud of.
6/13 Wednesday – Left work today and came home to finish hooking up that 20 amp line, it went flawlessly. From there it was time to replace the rotted out base board under the sink. I got the old one out fine and it was a mess underneath. There was a ton of rat feces among the other mess. Luckily the neighbor had informed me that there was a rat problem a while ago but had been resolved since the town switched to the garbage totes so it was nothing to be too terrible concerned about. I cleaned up the mess and measured for the replacement board. I cut up some more of the birch plywood, took off the sink, and layed it in. Then I decided to hookup the under sink water filtration system. I spent an hour or two with it trying to fix all sorts of leaks before I snapped a fitting in half. I called it a night and headed for Walmart on the way to
5/31 Thursday – Closed on house and moved in with the Uhaul. Everything was just dragged in and dropped, no organization. Picked up a sweet free couch.
6/1 Friday – Pulled up the upstairs carpet and threw it out the window to the back yard. Still smells everywhere, but maybe a little less. Labeled some of the mystery light switches.
6/2 Saturday – Tore down the ceiling in the living room and threw it in the back with the other garbage. Took up all the tackboard and staples in the two front most rooms. Replaced the locks.
6/3 Sunday – Cleaned the two frontmost rooms with ammonia. Setup kitchen, took down some of the cabinets. Mounted screen door from Janet and Vic. Dremel came in handy to crop off ½” of the frame that over hung.
6/4 Monday – Spent 5 hours pulling up tacks and staples from the stairs. Got all the staples and 1/3 of the tacks. The tacks are what takes forever. Decided to mount the last deadbolt in the front door. Didn’t size up the hole properly and now the hole that is half drilled (drill battery died) is larger than the outer diameter of the deadbolt. Will have to pickup some monster sized washers. Also picked up a latch for the front door but got a spring loaded one. Combined with the spring in the door handle itself there’s not enough tension to hold the door closed, will have to return it.
6/5 Tuesday – Got out of work around 2 and Vic came over to help me out. Showed him the house. He seems to think leaving the blown in insulation but putting up ‘batt’ insulation on the attic ceiling would be a good idea. We replaced the faucet in the kitchen sink with a cheap shitty one from value. Tightened the shut off valve on the upstairs toilet and it seemed to work but leaked when we flushed it. Stopped leaking so we figured it fixed. Gave him the top of the pool filter to see if it fit his and he took off. I went back inside and took another look at the upstairs toilet. It leaked when I flushed so I turned off the water, took it apart, and pulled out any of the rubber seal type hardware. Went to Lowes and purchased replacements for all the toilet hardware; was even able to get a compression type shut off valve that I wouldn’t have to sweat onto the pipe-everything totaled like $10. Also found a solid stainless faucet set for $29, a dollar more than the shitty half plastic one I bought at value. Went back home and replaced the faucet in the kitchen, money. Jason was over so I used my reciprocating saw for the first time and cut through the toilet pipe and installed the new valve/toilet hardware without problems. Then I went downstairs to turn on the water, I was checking out the kitchen sink when Jason starts screaming to shut it off. After I killed the water and went upstairs I saw the whole bathroom was soaked from the ceiling to the floor. Turns out I forgot to connect the pipe from the shut off valve into the toilet and the valve had been open. I put everything that got soaked in another room to dry and sopped up the water. Reconnected the hose, turned on the water, and no leaks…. until it was flushed.
Oh and I also installed the deadbolt in the front door. I got a metal sleeve that goes on the edge for $11 and works fine, adds more support to the door. Now if only I could find a latch for the storm door.
6/6 Wednesday – Picked up the 3 inch belt sander today and returned a few things to Lowes. Gave it a shot on the floor and to do the whole house with the 80 grit sand paper would take forever. However, I sanded some of the base board and not only did the sander work well but the wood looked brand new underneath. Despite the fact that a lower grit would yield better results, I’ll probably rent a floor sander to do the floors but will hang onto the belt sander for the trim and such. Decided to move today’s effort to the basement. The wire brush did a decent job of freeing up the crap on the walls but everything was still really dirty. Fortunately I came up with the idea to use the hose to clean up the walls and floor which worked out really well. I hosed down all the walls basically used the hose to sweep everything into the sump pump hole. The walls look light years better and everything worked out good. I sprayed all the walls down with a bleach solution afterwards and left it to soak in. Now they should be ready to patch up the holes and paint everything with the drylock. I may even pickup some more drylock to paint the floors depending on how it goes. All in all a pretty productive day considering I felt like crap and didn’t head into work until 4.