Thursday, April 22, 2010

This & That Update

Hardwood flooring delivery

Dean gets the call from the truck driver.

We have to meet the truck at the end of the driveway because he cannot make the turn in his 18-wheeler.

There were 2 huge bundles of wood totaling about 3000 pounds! We decided to use the backhoe to get them to the house.

The first bundle we transported like this - swinging from the shovel - it reminded me of how "the stork delivers a baby". It was a little precarious swinging to & fro.

Then we figured it might be better to tie the next load into the shovel - that definitely seemed more stable.

Once we got it up to the house, we had to unwrap the big bundles and manually transfer oh so many smaller bundles of wood into the house. We lifted 3000 pounds that day - and my body knew it!

Here Dean leans on one of the two bundles.

Two Steps Forward...

and one step back, when it comes to installing the kitchen cabinets...

We spent two full work days installing kitchen cabinets.

Dean checks the floors to find the high spot.

This wire is for under cabinet lighting. Dean is cutting the opening to lower the wire to the correct level.

This corner unit is the first one that we hung on the wall.

Here I am using a keyhole saw to cut a notch out of the back of the cabinet to fit over an electrical box.

And here's what it was looking like at the end of day one.

Dean spent the next day installing base cabinets.

Come to find out we did it wrong! What - are you kidding me?? I kid you not!


The wall cabinets are hung too low. Building code requires them to be 18 inches above the counter top. And we should have put the flooring in before installing the base cabinets. So, we have to take it all out!

My brother Tom says we'll be really good at it, having done it twice!

Pumpernickel takes it all is stride...


Now that we know that the flooring has to go in before the cabinets, we are focusing our attention there.

Here we are trying out the layout for the tile in the entry and the wood stove hearth.

The hearth will look like this:

For the entryway, I am laying out a staggered edge on one side.

The hardwood flooring will abut the tile like this.

This promises to be a tricky installation to make the two materials meet at the same level...

Tuesday I spent the afternoon on my hands and knees working at prepping the sub floor - scraping off bits of spilled plaster, hammering down nails that were not driven all the way in, and doing a light sanding to even out the surface.

I feel the earth move...

After not seeing him all winter, our excavator returned on Tuesday this week to resume work on the septic installation.

Trucking in more earth to build the hump.

Although it had been really nice and quiet with just Dean and I working at the house the past couple of weeks, it is heartening to see (and hear) some big machines working at the site again.

Another little high point was discovering...

The Ashby Market.

This is a real small town store that carries everything from food and wine, to hardware. You can have a sandwich made at the deli, pick up some nuts and bolts, and a nice bottle of wine for dinner - all in one stop!

Moving Stuff

Now that the plaster is drying out - yesterday's humidity check in the house was 60% in the morning and 45% after the windows had been open all day - we can start to bring some stuff into the house. As you have seen, we have already brought the cabinets and flooring in.

So we decided to try and empty out one of the storage units we are renting. This was our last load.

and now...

There is always Shingling

When the weather is nice, and some other task is not pressing to be done, there is always shingling. There is enough work here to keep us busy for a long time, but this is one job that I really enjoy doing...

Lessons Learned

The cabinets were not the only thing we did wrong. The ledger board had to be redone as well because we had not left enough space between it and the house. So Dean has another go at it...

That's it for now...

Tomorrow I pick up the flooring nailer tool that we are borrowing from Tom.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


It takes a village to build a house, and we are very grateful for all of the wonderful and generous help we have been getting from family and friends.

If you are familiar with Feng Shui, you know that there is an area of a house that correspsonds to "helpful people". I can only say that even though I have not paid much attention to it, we must have a very generous flow of Chi in this corner of our house!

Thank you in no particular order to:

  • Jef for agreeing to store some of our stuff, and for the loan of his generator
  • Matt for storing a bunch of Dean's big stuff
  • Negarre for taking care of our house plants, and storing some of our stuff
  • Ted - for helping us pack, storing our freezer and Dean's tool chest, and tons of help trouble shooting our several broken generators!
  • Tom and Bert for their good advice, and answering our many various questions about construction stuff
  • Julie for taking care of our trash and re-cycling.
  • Joe, Rich and Kate for helping us move
  • Laila, Jono, Owen and Drew for helping us clean up the yard at 123 Main.
  • CathyO for spending an entire day helping Dean to operate the crane on his truck to move many, big , heavy things.
  • Everyone who has come out to visit and cheer us on!
  • And last, but certainly not least, all of my blog followers who have offered sympathy, props and general feedback.

...And if I have forgotten to mention anyone by name, please forgivc me - I am sure it is attributable to the slight brain damage I suffer from 30 years of working nights!

Amidst our various frustrations with this project, we are definitely feeling the LOVE! and we are grateful to have such fine and generous friends and family. So, thanks a bunch!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Getting plastered!

The plastering team was at the house last week - a crew of six guys swept through the entire house in just 2 days!

I had planned to get more action shots, but decided to just stay out of the way as plaster was flying all over the place.

So here is what it looks like now that they are done.

Now that it is done, we have to wait a good two weeks for it to dry out before we bring anything into the house that we want to stay dry - like the hardwood for the floors, and the kitchen cabinets. And we have been advised to wait 4 weeks before painting!

The first day after it was done, the windows were dripping from the humidity in the house. Dean has been monitoring humidity levels daily > at a little less than a week out, the humidity has dropped from 92% on the first day to 72% yesterday. We open all the windows each day to facilitate the drying out.

In the meantime, we have continued to work on the house's exterior. We spent a couple of days putting up ledger boards on the North and South sides of the house for planned future decks.

First, a strip of this rubbery stuff goes up.

Then, the strip of copper flashing.

And the finally the pressure treated board. Note that I am tightening the lag bolts using a manual ratchet while my husband uses the power tool on the other side of the house!

With this strip of aluminum flashing put up over the window and door frames, we are ready to resume shingling.

The word is that our septic guy will be around today to resume work on the septic installation. And we expect a delivery of the hardwood flooring this week...