Friday, September 07, 2007

"What I Did On My Summer Vacation"

Sorry for the delay in posting my vacation work updates, but I was pretty much toast each night, and too busy back at work this week. I'll do my best to give the week in review...

Saturday, August 25
The calm before the storm...

I spent Saturday hanging with Boomper, and working on some of the work plans for the coming week.

Sunday, August 26
"I want my @#$%^&* doors!"

After our traditional Sunday Morning breakfast of Dad's Special Waffles, I called Home Depot to let them know that I wanted to pick up the new side door so that I could start the project. Thinking that it would be a simple case of driving up there, picking up a few supplies and the door, and then coming home and getting down to work.... nuh-uh.

"Sorry sir, but your doors are on order, and won't be in for a few days."

That's the answer I got. I then explained to them that I had already purchased the doors, that I had actually put my hands on them, and was told they would be moved to a "on-call" area for me to pick up at a later date.


"Um, sir? I'm going to have to call you back."

So after waiting an hour or so, I call them back. It seems that the message never got back to the millwork department to investigate and call me. I finally talk with someone in millwork who could possibly help. He can't find the side door, and then starts pushing the blame onto the salesperson who sold me the doors. "I need to talk with my manager. I'll call you back in 20 minutes."

An hour later, I call them back again. The salesperson "got busy". "My manager says that you can come in and pick out a better door, and we'll give it to for the same price."

At this point, I'd had enough.

"Listen, I purchased both doors the other night. I had my hands on them, and after I purchased them, I was told they would be moved to an on-call area. If someone there did not move the doors, and then RESOLD them to another customer, that could be construed as theft of stolen goods. Here's what you are going to do: You're going to call the other local stores and find the same door, then you are going to go pick it up, and deliver BOTH doors (side door and French Door unit) to my house FREE-OF-CHARGE. You have until 6PM to make the delivery."

The doors were delivered about 2-1/2 hours later.

The work day was shot, so I puttered around and tried to prep things for the next day.

As I was closing up the garage for the day, I looked over at my "door-locked" generator, and made the following remark... "that's okay, we won't be needing it any time soon...."

Monday, August 27
"Sill? What sill?"

Remember the last remark? About not needing the generator? Guess what was out when we woke this morning? You got it... the power. We decided to change plans slightly, and run our shopping errands in the morning, but first, we were off to the North Chili Dinner for breakfast. As we were getting ready to go, the power came back on. See, no need for the generator.

By the time we got back from our errands, and ate lunch, it was time to tackle the side door. But first, I remembered to go apply for my building permit.

I was pretty sure that I'd be okay without having to get a permit to replace the side door, but I wanted to be sure.

I went and dropped off my permit application for both doors and was told that since it was just a replacement, that I didn't need a permit for the side door. Better safe than sorry.

Time to demo the old door and get the opening ready for the new door unit. Demo went well, until I realized that there was no sill to new door unit on. Back to HD for supplies.

I got back late, but since I had a hole in the side of the house, I had to finish the job. As I was grumbling outside, my beautiful wife called in a little help.

Thanks for our friends, Valerie and Keith, and their daughters (kept Boomper occupied as we finished up the project), for helping us get things buttoned up before it got too late.

Tuesday, August 28
"My brain hurts."

Yesterday late work left me with a whopper of a headache this morning, so I pretty much did more puttering around (awful lot of puttering goes on around here).

The one thing I did do was go and meet with the building inspector, Tom. I met Tom back when I replaced the kitchen windows, and I thing he appreciate that I knew what I was talking about when it came to building/renovation terms and practices. We talked about opening the back wall for the French doors, and my concern about adequate framing to support it. He advised me to go ahead and open the wall, and then call him to swing by and look at it.

Wednesday, August 29
"The Pope, The Virgin Mary, and the Ace of Spades"

Today was dining room wall demolition day. I spent the bulk of the morning prepping the room by taping up plastic to minimize dust in the rest of the house, taping down contractor paper to protect the floors, and taking down the remaining trimwork to be refinished and put back up later.

While removing the gumwood baseboard in the corner, I found three cards behind it: an early portrait of Pope John Paul II, a Mass card for a gentleman who died in 1973, and the Ace of Spades. I just found the collection amusing.

The three-yard dumpster arrived mid-morning (our village rents these for $20/week - SCHWEET!), and so, after lunch, I grabbed the buckets, my hammer and flatbar, and a dust mask, and started demolition. After five hours of tearing down old wallboard and paster, and trucking it out to the dumpster in five-gallon buckets, and after the dust cleared from vacuuming and sweeping up the debris, and was very happy to find that I had enough room under the header to install the new doors. Of course, I still needed to install a pair of double-jackstud posts under each end of the header because IT WAS ONLY BEING HELD BY BIG HONKIN' NAILS NAILED INTO THE ENDS OF IT!!!

By the end of the day, I was pooped, and didn't feel like cooking, so we went to our nearby Applebee's for dinner.

Thursday, August 30
Decking Material Gathering

Today, I pretty much spent the day picking up the materials for the temporary deck. I was back at HD with the plan of renting their Load&Go truck to haul the stuff back to the house. It's pretty affordable ($20 for an hour and a half), and since HD is only 11 miles down the road, it was going to be a quick run.

Of course, I had to pick the day that EVERYONE needed to rent the truck. The lucky part was that I was second on the list.

I finally got the truck, loaded it, drove it home and unloaded, took it back, picked up the van, and headed home again. It started sprinkling, so I decided to hold of until tomorrow to get to the deck.

Soon after, I get the visit from Tom, the building inspector. What I thought would be a quick 5-10 minute visit to look at the wall, turned into a one hour discussion about the neighboorhood, and the problems with the "5-family" slum a few doors down. Tom gave me the thumbs up on my plan with the wall and door installation.

Friday, August 31
Deck Build - Part 1

Today, the weather was perfect for working outside. Low-to-mid 70's, clear and sunny. Perfect.

I got right into building the deck. For the uprights, I reused 4x4's from the black walnut stack. Some were a bit twisted, or bowed, but I was still able to use them. I'll admit that my goal of having the decking all down by the end of the day was a bit ambitious, but I knew it was going down in flames when I second-guessed myself, and decided on a different joist layout.

Then I got slowed up by a bee that decided that I hadn't been stung in a while. I'm glad I'm not allergic to bee stings, because he hit me at the base of my neck. He just pissed me off for the next few hours.

My punishment for changing my plan midstream, was that I ended up one joist short. So, it was back to HD for the joist, and the remaining supplies to finish my projects.

Saturday, September 1
Deck Build - Part 2

Remember the bee from yesterday? Well, I think he's family was trying to avenge his death. All day long, I had about 3-4 bees constantly buzzing me.

I finished building the deck late this evening, and I must say, "not too bad for a first-time deck builder."

We celebrated the new deck with a moonlit dinner, and beer, out on it.

Sunday, September 2
"There's a big hole in the house!"

With the inside wall demoed, and the the deck in place, it was time to tear out the remaining window jamb, and open the wall up.

It took pretty much all day to cut the opening. I was trying to minimize damage to the fragile siding, and to the underlying sheathing. I also had to be care that I didn't remove too much before I got the new jackstuds in place.

I confess... at one point today, I stood up, looked out through the big hole in the back of the dining room, and said to myself, "What the hell am I doing?!?" My father had a similar moment many years ago as he stood on the second floor of their Cape Code, looking out over the neighborhood, with the back roof suspended by crane.... okay, so mine wasn't THAT bad.

I finally got to a stopping point, stapled the plastic back up on the inside and drapped the tarp over the opening on the outside, and Regina and I, again, sat out on the deck and had dinner by candle light.

Monday, September 3
Nice Doors

So, which "big day" is this? That's right: Door Installation Day.

Just a few things to finish up on prepping the door opening, and then I can call Brother Mark to come over and help me move the door unit.

Mark arrived, and we immediately moved the door unit up onto the deck... er, "temporary work platform". Yeah, that's it. We got it humped into place, and started the time-consuming, and rather mindtwisting task of shimming and securing the door in place. Thanks Mark!

Finally.... it was in, and there was much rejoicing.

Here I am with the doors. The doors weren't "completely secured", and then, Mom called:

Here's the deck with the doors:

Here are the doors from the inside:

Of course, we still need to do all the interior finish work (electrical, insulation, drywall, paint, etc, etc, etc), but that's another weekend.

I have to go back to work tomorrow. yeah.

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