Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'm just floored this morning!

Still pretty hot even in the early morning here.  Today, I got up at 7am, and was ready to go out in the back yard as soon as it was light enough to work (about 8am).  Quickly nailed up some 2x4s along the inside of one wall of the shed... they will become part of the shelves along that wall.  Didn't want to mess with the remaining boards or plywood, since they were going to take time to cut to size.

Next, swept the floor in the shed.  You would be surprised at how much crud had been tramped in in the two or three weeks since I put the roof on the structure.  Well, its all cleaned now.  This allowed me to mix up a sack of mortar and refinish some of the rough spots on the concrete slab.  I have to go out now in a few minutes and hit it with a trowel again, since it was pretty sloppy when I first put it down.

Plans for today include (finally) finishing the masking of the guest bathroom so we can paint it tomorrow.  Also thinking about doing some trimming on the hedges in front of the house.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A/C Being Fixed

Pam called to say that the Air Conditioner guy had come early.  He was scheduled for this afternoon.  Fortunately, he swung by around 10AM.  Since the temps are supposed to reach 102 today, this is a GOOD thing.  Should be nice and cool by the time I get home.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another

Monday, the downstairs Air Conditioner stopped working.

Ok, Monday wasn't as hot has the weekend had been, but the 90's is still a little more than I like to hang out in.  When you go inside on a hot day, you expect the temperature to be cooler... and it was.  Just not as cool as expected.  You see, we like to run the A/C with the thermostat set at 82 degrees in the summer...  Not that I like it that warm, but my wife does;  and neither one of us like the high electric bill that is the alternative.  Anyway, the thermostat, when I read it, was reading 84.  It didn't take long to determine that the system was blowing warm.

You will remember that I mentioned that the downstairs A/C stopped working.  Well, the upstairs A/C was running... and running.  The upstairs system is a lot smaller than the main one down stairs.  It cannot cool the hole house, and while it probably was the reason that the downstairs was as cool as it was, the poor little thing was probably going to burn out if we tried to run it all day.

We had replaced our (downstairs!) furnace a couple of winters previously, so we already had a contact with 72 Degrees heating and air conditioning, not to mention a maintenance contract.  This got us next day service.  That was the good news.  Now the bad news:  the compressor on the Air Conditioning unit was gone.  Replacement cost:  $1,500, or $4,000 if we wanted to replace the entire system.

We are not rich.  Sure, Pam and I pull in enough income that we are edging into the top 10% in the US, but believe me, that is not rich.  We (this year) are finally pulling enough ahead of things that we were able to afford a couple of small home improvement projects this year (see shed and painting/carpet projects mentioned in previous posts).  Those things have absorbed all of our extra income for the year (and added a couple of grand to our credit balance that we hope to pay back off over the next year).  Replacing the compressor (no way we could afford the complete new system!) was going to hurt.  Not a crippling hurt like the furnace two years ago was (had to tap into our 401K for that), but not fun.

Oh, did I mention the worse news?  A compressor is not a part that a repair guy carries around in his truck.  They did have them in stock (two!), but it would be Thursday before he could get it installed.

Today's high is expected to be 97.  Tomorrow is forecast at 103.  Welcome to the south.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Almost Finished On The Shed

I've been sweating through the heat for the last couple of days, putting siding and trim up.  As you can see in these pictures, I've got the siding complete (on three of the sides), and the nice trim on the eves.

Tomorrow, I have a few more pieces of siding to put at the top of the back wall, and the white trim piece along the roof line there.  I also have some inside work to do (refinish the slab surface, build shelves).
Meanwhile, I think I can send a "We're done" message to the HOA.  According to my calculations, today was my last day to work on the project (30 days!), so its about time.  Which reminds me that I need to go out and measure the offset from the property line.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Siding mostly finished

Worked steadily through the day, first taking down the siding I had put up, and then adding the corner pieces, and putting it back up.  Didn't quite finish... I had to run down to Lowes and get three more pieces of vinyl.  I should have it completed tomorrow afternoon, at which point I'll shoot some more pics.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Siding started

The siding went up pretty quickly last night and through today.  Of course I messed it up.  I didn't put on the corner pieces first, as I was supposed to.  Instead, I went right to the horizontal pieces.  Now that I realize that I should have put the corner pieces on first, I realize that I'll have to trim the horizontal pieces exactly 1-1/2" from the physical corners.  Not too difficult, but generally a pain in the @$$.  Now that most of the siding is up, I realize that there is a noticeable slope to the roof eve.  I'll have to add some extra trim to make it look nice.  Pictures after I finish installing the trim.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Almost there...

Haven't posted for a couple of days... several small things finished.  Wednesday, I cut & installed the last few shingles on the roof ridge.  Barely had enough.  Yesterday, I mixed up a bag of mortar and refinished the front stoop of the shed.  It still isn't sidewalk quality, but its smooth enough now that it won't hurt bare feet.

This afternoon, we're going to go down and buy siding.  This weekend, I'll be putting that up.  Sunday, I may take time to mix up the rest of the mortar to smooth out the inside floor.  Then its picture time again.

Also worked on patching the walls in the guest bathroom.  It turned out that I didn't need an Allen wrench to remove the TP holder & Towel rack, just a small screw driver.  Left some nasty holes.  Those are covered now, although I still need to sand the patches smooth.  Then we will tape and paint.

Next week (after payday!), I plan to get some good lumber to make mounting plates for the Towel rack, etc.  I also want to get a router table to make it easy to put a nice edge on them.  Then I can also do the trim on the garage stairway (needed doing for at least 3 years now).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Another near record hot day!

I got home from work Tuesday afternoon, and immediately installed the two mounting plates for the dining room window drapery hooks.  The hooks ended up being a few degrees off of plumb, but I take the exercise as a success, since I learned to work with the new caulk behind trim.  Nothing too serious with the job that a little touch up paint won't fix.

Later, after the sun got a little lower (and it wasn't quite as hot), I went out and mounted the cap shingles that I had cut the day before.  Of course I hadn't cut enough, but I did have enough to do about 2/3 of the shed ridge.  I figure I need about 8 more cap shingles... fortunately, I have 3 more shingles in the last pack, which will make 9 caps.  Glad I don't have to buy another package of shingles ($22 a pack!)

The final chore that I hit in the evening was patching work in the guest bathroom.  There were a number of holes that needed to be filled (old screw holes from various things).  I wasn't able to remove the towel and toilet paper holders since I couldn't find my Allen wrenches... I'll do that tonight, when I hit the second coat of patching compound.

Next up on the shed (after the final cap shingles) is siding...  this weekend.  Inside, we're working on prepping to paint the guest bathroom.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hot Today

Yesterday (day after majority of roofing installed), I came home from work and knocked out two minor tasks on the shed:  (1)  cutting a bunch of cap shingles (trimming them two the shape needed to install them on the roof ridge) and (2) reseat and level the door frame so that it is flush against the wall, and doesn't cause the door to stick.  I would have done more, except I was short of time, having to head to a Toastmaster's meeting.

After the meeting, I did take a few minutes to start putting together the mounting plates for the Dining Room drapery hooks.  These hooks are used to hold open the drapes.  They had previously been screwed directly to the wall, but the fit wasn't very secure (one hook in another location actually tore out!).  I decided when we painted the walls that I would add some decorative wooden plates between the wall and the hooks to provide more grab for the screws.  I hope to install this kind of plate throughout the house (behind towel racks, etc.), although most of them will have to be custom made.  The ones behind the drapery hooks I acquired from Lowes.  Their original purpose was to be end plates where a wooden (stairway) railing butted into a wall.  Whatever works.  I didn't actually install either of the two plates I was working on... ran out of time at 10pm.  Need to dig out my caulk gun this evening to apply sealant behind the plates as I screw them in.  Pictures after.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Put A Lid On It

Another hot day on Sunday.  A 6 t-shirt day.

Notice that I've put shingles on the roof.  The other side looks the same.  Of course, I didn't quite finish... I have to put the cap shingles on... although I've cut most of them, I still need to trim them to shape.  I'll put them on during the week sometime.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yippie! The weekend's here!

I picked up my roofing materials at lunch today.  Attempted to purchase it on line, but it didn't really save any time...  They didn't have the order waiting for me when I got there, and it turned out the nails I ordered were the wrong kind.  Ended up taking more time waiting for them to fetch the materials, and then me having to go get the right nails than it would have if I'd just done it myself in the first place.

Ready to go in the morning.  I have concrete, shingles, and everything else to finish the shed, as well as plenty of inside stuff.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Looking forward to the weekend

Yeah, yeah, I know.  I sweat through the weekend, complaining about how hot it is, and then during the week I look forward to the next one.

I've been spending the last couple of days doing minor work on the shed... adding some extra boards to the roof trusses to secure the gaps in the roof plywood.  I also added an extra anchor bolt in the low corner, and I will be adding an extra layer of mortar on top of the existing concrete this week [weather dependent] (picked up 3 sacks of mortar this afternoon).

The next big job on the shed is the roofing.  I would have picked up the shingles today, but I didn't want to hit the bank account that hard when I know I won't be able to use them before Saturday morning.

Besides the shed, we're about ready to start on the next painting job... the guest bathroom.  I will be patching holes and taking off hardware over the next night or two, and Pam will be masking off things that don't need pain.  Hope to paint on Saturday afternoon.

Why the big rush?  Well, our wine consultant, Megan from PRP Wine will be hosting a wine event at our house at the end of the month.  We've been one of her customers for a couple of years.  Sure, the wine we buy costs more than the stuff at the grocery store, but it is better wine. (We go through a couple of bottles a month... but we don't do much else.)  Anyway, the object is to have the house looking as good as possible before that event, instead of its usual disastrous state.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Closed Up... Mostly

Long, hot weekend.  Trusses on Friday.  Eves and Door on Saturday.  Roof plywood on Sunday.  Temperatures in the mid-90's.  Generally went through 3-5 T-shirts each day. 

As can be seen in this picture, the roof ply has a gap about 4 feet from the left end.  The truss spacing was off a little bit, so I had to leave the gap, which will be covered by the shingles next week.

I still want to bring in some more mortar on the slab to give it a smoother finish.  Where I did so in the back, the surface is nice.  The rest is really rough, even though the slab turned out better than I'd hoped.