Category Archives: Just life

concrete hell #1

I forget how much I’ve posted about the back bedroom remodeling project, but that has been going along well enough. We got someone to stucco the windows (and passed all the related inspections), then we put up the drywall (using Georgia-Pacific DensArmor Plus wallboard — basically drywall but with fiberglass matting on both sides instead of paper. If it gets wet, no mold!). We had a great crew come out to tape and texture the drywall — they did a beautiful job on the new drywall, as well as on the existing (ceiling and interior wall) drywall. We painted it with Frazee Envirokote Zero VOC paint (which really is zero VOC — the office is getting painted by pros at the same time, and the difference in the odor — or lack thereof, with the Envirokote — is amazing). Then, since it hangs on the wall and doesn’t sit on the floor, we got Elfa shelving from the Container Store (during the annual Elfa sale, no less!) for the closet and along one wall for bookshelves.

We even get and install a dog door (with wall tunnel) to put in the wall so the dog doesn’t have to ask all the time to go in and out. And we’re in the process of getting the outside of the house painted and stucco-color-coated.

Feeling pretty confident (finally) about the whole project, I start cleaning the floor to prep for gluing down the bamboo flooring planks that we purchased for this room three (!) years ago, when we first started this project.
Continue reading

electrical hell #2

So it’s time for my 3-monthly blog post. }:>

This one’ll be a follow up to my last post, electrical hell #1, in which I discover wildly different hot-to-neutral voltages on each side of the phases of my electrical service.

The next day, the power company sends an apparently normal person (who was extremely nice in comparison to the Sunday morning at 5AM person) to check things out.
Continue reading

remodeling hell #1.2: stucco & drywall

So it’s been a little bit since my last entry on this.

We got the permit I was so nervous about beforehand, and have already had two inspections on it, both apparently passing with flying colors. I suppose it pays to be meticulous.

The windows were installed, and look beautiful. They brighten up the room immensely.

I had to install a new diagonal cross-member to replace the existing one that had to be cut to put the windows in, then I had to insulate — we found Johns Manville Formaldehyde-Free Easy-Fit insulation, which is actually pretty cool, despite being fiberglass. Good for insulation, but makes bad itchies, even with coveralls and taped-up gloves and boot covers (although that does help a little bit).

We also put AstroFoil radiant barrier in all the stud cavities behind the insulation, since that wall faces south. We put astro-foil under the roof rafters in a couple of uninsulated parts of the house, and it smooths out the temperature swings (remember, California is a desert — hot during the day, cold at night) immensely. At some point I want to put it under the rafters across the whole house, but due to the amount of crap in the attic, that’s rather a large project.

That part wasn’t really all that bad. But then comes the stucco issue…
Continue reading

remodeling hell #1.1

The back bedroom, which was to be a fairly simple repaint and refloor and done, has turned into a bit of a behemoth.

First, we started experimenting with how to repair the scrape marks on the ceiling from the asbestos abatement. Not a big deal, just plaster over it with drywall compound. This turned out to be easy enough; the only issue is that it leaves big knife textures that even sanding doesn’t really get rid of. So we decide to texture it. Again not a big deal; I found some nice how-tos that show you how to make a decent knockdown and/or orangepeel texture using a paint roller, a paint pan full of runny drywall compound, and (30-60 minutes later as the stuff hardens) a drywall knife.
Continue reading

remodeling hell #1.0

So, here’s the next entry in my life of remodeling hell. I have good news, and I have bad news.

The good news is that the roof remodel finished, earlier than expected, and it looks wonderful. The roofers found lots of damaged wood, probably mostly from age, and replaced it all. They fixed the issue which caused the main roof leak initially, added a ridge vent along one portion to fix another issue, and replaced the skylights. All was a professional, wonderful job, and cost a grand total of about $15,000. (Since nobody else seems to say how much a new roof will cost, I will.)

The bad news is that I peeled away some drywall behind where we found another leak in the roof (prior to the new roof being installed) and discovered…more mold! Ugh. This is in a really inconvenient place, of course; in a wall between two rooms, one of which has the asbestos popcorn crap on the ceiling, so we’re going to have to completely empty that room as well.

See the next entry for the trials and tribulations of the back bedroom that only had asbestos on the ceiling and floor, but it looks like we won’t be able to finish the abatement work on the original mold issue (and get the rest of the mold abated as well) until we finish and can move into the back bedroom.


remodeling hell #0.5

Since I seem to have diarrhea of the mouth tonight, perhaps this would be a good time to start my idea of having a blog of sorts involving the house remodel upon which we’ve embarked, semi-willingly.

This post will be the back-story.

Years ago, we purchased the house. We only had it a couple of years when we were beset upon by an army of ninjas. (Wait, wrong back story.)

We only had it a couple of years when our first roommate moved out. We decided this would be a perfect opportunity to remodel the empty bedroom. We had picked out paint colors and a lovely bamboo flooring. We’d ripped out the carpet when we discovered that remodeling is never as simple as it appears on This Old House.
Continue reading

Our dog is a freak

So, this is our dog:

Our dog is, in the most loving and caring way possible, a freak.

This dog has the most uncanny ability to zero in on anything that might possibly be (or have once been) food, find it, tear it apart, and try to eat it.

She has found such things as yogurt pretzels, peanut butter filled pretzels, leftover bread, bird seed & pellets, and other odd things that I can’t remember right now, taken them down from many places in the kitchen and house, and snacked upon them. Our ‘no food below this level’ line has been rising, and unfortunately it’s now higher than most countertops in the house.

The dog’s most recent gastronomical exploit was this weekend, when she found a quarter of a cheese pizza that was closed up in its box on the stove. She managed to pull down the entire box, flip it upside down, and devour the contents. We found the little white plastic thing that gets put in the center of pizzas to hold the lid up at the other end of the house, licked clean.

This was after she was kept awake all night by a slumber party of sugar-enhanced 10 year olds held at our house (reasoning: well, the house is torn up anyway, they can’t do much more to it); perhaps this was her hangover cure. “Ow my head. Pizza? OK!”

She’s a good dog. But a freak. (And she’s going to have to stay inside while the roofers do their thing all week. Eeeee….)

frazzled by a roof?

So as part of a whole chain of events, involving remodeling and a roof leak, among other may-you-live-in-interesting-times life occurrences, we’re getting a new roof on the house. Which for the most part is a good thing.

However, I come home today to find a couple of messages on the machine. They’re both from the roofer, saying “Hey, we’re going to come out tomorrow to start the tear-off. Is that OK?”

Well yes, but the lack of actual notice (I didn’t have any dates other than
“when we get all the materials in” for when things would start) kind of throws
a crimp in things, if only because I have to clear out the yard, make sure the inside is dog-safe, and make sure there’s power and sodas/water available for the roofers. Then I have to request a couple of days off work (or to work from home) to watch the birds in case they have any reactions to the odors from whatever sealants and such they’re going to use.

I’m good with it for the most part. I think it was just the sudden transition from waiting to MOVING that made me frazzled.

But I think everything’s OK now. I will be happy when it’s done, and it will be
a nice, professionally done roof. Yay.