Monday, May 31, 2010

Just call me "Fetch"

We spent yesterday working at the house - of course!  The weather was just lovely, and we had doors and windows open.

We have gotten to a point in the shingling where Dean now has to finish trimming out a few of the windows before we can continue.  So, while he worked outside doing that, I was inside doing some flooring. 

Dean was working up on the Genie, and rather than going up and down when he needed a tool or something, he would call in through the open door:

Cat, can you hand me my tape measure?

Hey Cat, can you go downstairs and see if you can find some nails for me?

Just call me "Fetch"!

We both needed the air hose, and so we shared it by passing it back and forth through the dining room door.

We'll be back at it again today!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

This week @ three eighty-eight

We've taken to referring to our place as simply "388".

Cathy:  "What are your plans for today?"
Dean:  "I'm working at 388."

Cathy:  "I will pack a lunch and meet you at 388"

Cathy:  "How were things at 388 today?"

So here's what's been going on this week at 388...  Since we had no rainy weather, the focus has been on the exterior.  So that means shingling! and other stuff, and it means flooring is on hold (my aching back is thankful for the reprieve)

Featured guest

On Sunday, Matt stopped by to see what we are up to, and to spend some time commiserating about poor workmanship by hired contractors.

Foundation painting

I painted three sides of the foundation a dark charcoal gray.  We wanted to get this done because our excavator is getting ready to start setting some stone walls which will butt up against the foundation in several places.  On the west side of the house, I was painting the blue Styrofoam that insulates the foundation - the gray is much nicer to look at, and I think that it will push into the background once the other structures are in place.


We are making forward progress, but it sure is slow. 

The straight runs go pretty quickly, but weaving the corners, and working on the bump outs, and around the ledger boards and other obstacles, slows the process way down...

On Tuesday, I worked for several hours on this straight run on the west side of the house in the hot afternoon sun, and at the end of the day, as the sun was dipping behind the trees, this was what had been accomplished.

On Wednesday, I finally figured out that I should work on the west side of the house in the morning when it is in shade, rather than the blazing hot sun of late afternoon!  I was able to finish these rows of shingles quickly, but then ran into the porch, and it slowed down again.

I am a uni-directional hammerer, so to get to these shingles under the door, I have to turn my upper body upside down to get the right angle.

In the meantime, Dean works on the more technical stuff - like weaving the corners. 

And we are finally putting Genie to use!

Turns out, Genie is somewhat of a beast to move and get positioned correctly. 

We have to hook her up to a trailer hitch on either the truck or the backhoe to move her into position near the house.  She does not have unlimited reach, and because it is a pretty big project to move her, we want to get it just right.  Once we have the right position to access the area we want to work on, we have to lower the four big feet, and start turning these cranks (by hand) to level the whole unit, and raise the wheels off the ground.

Once she is all set up, she works great!

Here's another view of how a corner section looks.

Dean started work on one of the bump outs this week.

We are using bead board to close in the bottom of the bump out.  We will also use this bead board to close in the roof soffits.

And here is what the bump out looks like partially dressed up in her shingles.

And at the end of the day on Friday, the east side of the house looks like this:

We are leaning toward a green palate for the final color on the body of the house, but it will not be this "girl scout green" that I am priming the bead board with.  We think it will be more of a sage, or grayish green, or perhaps an olive green.  The window frames are already a sort of dark "British Racing green".

The Natural World

In the natural world, spring is rapidly progressing toward summer.

The wild blackberries are in bloom.

The mountain laurel is just starting to bust out.  I love how the buds are pink, and then open into white flowers.

And a pair of Phoebes is raising a brood in a nest under the eaves in the gable of the south wall.  Really, from the moment the roof was on, they were checking out the real estate.

I rode the Genie up to get this shot, but startled the adult in the process.  It is going to be quite a challenge working around them as we go to close in the section.  Our experience with Phoebes at our old house is that they do launch go from nest, to eggs, to launching the fledglings within a few weeks time.  But we will have to be quick, because no sooner have they launched one brood, then they start on the next.

Internal Clock

We are always amazed by Pumpernickel's ability to tell time.  She has an amazingly accurate internal clock. 

After sleeping under the porch all day, at about 4:30 PM, plus or minus 2-3 min, she comes to find us where ever we are working, to let us know she is ready to go home.  Seriously, she is never off by more than a few minutes of 4:30!

Anyway, she gives us the look that says "are you guys ready to drag up. because I am?"

But now that the days are long, we have been taking advantage of the daylight and working later...  Oh well, Pumps, cocktails will have to wait!

Friday, May 21, 2010

This & That Weekly Update

Septic Progress

The septic passed inspection this week. Yeee Ha!
First, the septic tank gets filled with some water to test the pump.

This is the pump. Did you ever think you could be so close up & personal with a septic pump?

Here is a clip showing the pump being tested.  

What you are seeing here is actually the distribution box. The pump sends the effluent from the septic tanks to the D box, which then sends it to the leaching field.

Looks like it works fine!  Ready to pump "effluent" - a nice word for for pissy, crappy water and such.

Present for the inspection were the septic contractor and his dog, the septic engineer, and the Board of Health guy.  Sadly, I missed it.  Dean was under orders to document the event - and he did a fine job!

I scored a free toilet from our local free-cycling group.  Now that we have a working septic system, we will install this in the basement, and we can get rid of the PortaPotty and save the $100 monthly rental charge!


If it's raining, we must be flooring... 
 We are plugging away at laying the hardwood flooring.  Here Dean shows off the pneumatic flooring nailer.  I think this footage was pre-appendix.  Yes - for now, everything is relative to that event, but soon I am pretty sure it will fade into distant memory...

For a while, only Dean was allowed to use the nailer, while I was relegated to laying out the lengths of flooring.  But we figured out that I am able to handle the nailer, and we actually make much quicker progress with both of us working on laying and nailing.  Since I am not at all proficient in the areas that need cut arounds, or that need to be drilled and hammered by hand, it means that I can continue to be productive while Dean handles those challenges...

I have been working on one side of the room, while Dean works on the other side, so the finished area is expanding in both directions.

It is amazingly back breaking work!

So here is what it is looking like so  far...


This week's MHHB guest visitors

CathyO stopped by on Saturday.

Teddy Bear was delivering milk in the area on Wednesday, so he stopped in.

and he brought us some milk! Sweet!

Feuding with the builder

If you have been following this blog, you know that we have been less than happy with our builder.  Well, it is now a full out feud.

Without going into ALL of the dirty details, in addition to all of our complaints about the quality of his work, we now believe that he has overcharged us.  We have had a number of other builders give us informal estimates for the work that was done, and what we actually paid far exceeds these estimates.  We have asked for a partial refund, but so far he is unwilling to do this.

We are considering litigation.  Can anyone recommend a lawyer?

Fixing the Zip tape

One of the things that our builder did poorly, which we are now fixing, was the installation of the Zip tape.

The Zip tape system, when installed correctly, is intended to seal air gaps between the large panels of sheathing and at all of the joints.  When there are wrinkles in the tape, air can get in.

Pretty much the whole house is riddled with wrinkles...

From the Zip system website's FAQ:

Wrinkled tape may contribute to leaks in the system. If a taped seam contains a wrinkle, first, try to lift and replace the wrinkled area of tape. Next, re-apply pressure to the tape using the ZIP System tape gun roller to ensure the tape is sealed. If the tape is already adhered and difficult to remove, simply use the roller on the tape gun and apply as much pressure as needed to make certain the tape is secured to the panel, particularly around the tape edges. This should flatten any air pocket and activate the tape adhesive to bond completely with the ZIP System panels.

So we have been spending quite a bit of time patching the air gaps...

Another place where the Zip tape was not used correctly is around the windows.  The tape is supposed to overlap onto the window frame to create a seal.  So we will be fixing this as well...


All of this Zip tape repair has slowed us down a bit on the shingling...

I wonder what adventures next week will bring??

Hey, want to be a MHHB featured guest?  Come on out for a visit!!