Tags: remodeling

Gardening

Time warp

Things continue to move along. It seems very slow, but I’m sure that’s because the infrastructure work is ugly and time consuming. For example, I completely forgot to take pictures of the pipe layout for the irrigation and now it’s all hidden away behind piles of dirt and rock paths. All of that basically happened in two days, so my perception of time on this project is definitely skewed. The great part is that the layout is the yard is going to be easy and better to take care of. And the yard is already flat with no ankle breaking areas. So I declare provisional success. And it doesn’t hurt that the wheelbarrow supports the Seahawks. Crossposted from Journey to the Center, comment here or there with OpenID.
Gardening

Lawn retrofit

We’ve just started the destruction phase of our yard remodel. We’ve been planning this work for years, slowly trying to get pieces completed. But the slowly is what really made it impossible to actually accomplish the dream though. When we bought this place, the previous owners had just replaced the lawn with new sod to make a sale. Between the vast amounts of flat lawn area, the abysmal water pressure and the lack of external faucets to water the lawn never really set well. Of course, it doesn’t help that elk eat by yanking up on plants instead of clipping leaves off, so they are constantly pulling out plugs of grass and root. I’ve never been terribly sad about it though because lawn just isn’t important to me. The cats run on it, but we’re not out there lawn bowling or anything so I have better things to do with my time. Also I happen to be partial to forests and meadows which is why we live where we do instead of suburbia. So between the weather, critters and neglect we ended up with a wasteland of high grass, weeds and clover. Which was fine until we put in the pipes for an irritation system. The ground is full of boulders so it took a very long time to get all the pipes in place and even longer to cover them back up. Which really meant that we ended up with a lawn with hills and valleys. Not good for people to walk on, and affectionately called “our ankle breaker yard”, we’ve decided to fix it so we can have people over again without worrying about one of them permanently wrecking something. I honestly have no idea how this is going to turn out. Constructions folks make me nervous and these guys are working without our oversight. I just don’t expect them to be able to make good choices about what to destroy and what to try to save. Or I guess it’s that they won’t make the same choices I would, which leads to terrible surprises. We’ll see how it goes. Before: Crossposted from Journey to the Center, comment here or there with OpenID.
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Grind Away

The disposal is in! Finally, I can grind bits of food into smaller bits and then flush them away down the sink. This is strangely satisfying, especially considering the amount of time it took to get around to completing the dang task.

But now the plumbing is done (One minor tweak involved and only 3 new pieces of pipe! Thank goodness for compression fit pipe.) and the thing works like a champ. It’s enormous - 3/4 hp motor. I can’t imagine what we could possibly grind up that would need that much power, but its there if we need it. Maybe I’ll start grinding bones or something, just to justify the thing.

And now the box can go to it’s final resting place in the middle of the living room. It seems to make the best kitty fort ever. Once inside, the cat goes into full-on army mode. It’s almost worth more than the disposal itself.

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.

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Adventures in Wiring

Over the weekend my husband and I tried to put in the new garbage disposal. It’s one of the things about this house that we just haven’t been able to get used to. Low water pressure? Fine, we’ll adjust. No microwave? Well, we have an oven. No disposal? Panic!

The reasoning behind not putting one in was sound - we’re on a septic system instead of sewer. Fortunately they’ve developed a disposal with septic in mind, so we went out and picked one up. It’s one heck of a disposal too: 3/4 horsepower with a 40 oz grind chamber. Not that we need all of that grinding power, but it will be nice to be able to just wash stuff down the sink instead of being super careful about catching scraps in the trap. And then the really gross part of transferring the ick from the trap to the trash.

After bringing this bad boy home, we came up with a plan of attack. See, the dishwasher was put in after the rest of the kitchen, so there’s some weird wiring under the sink (along with a switch?!?) to accommodate it. We figured we’d just attach the disposal to the dishwasher electric feed, do a bit of plumbing and be done. We’ve done electric work before. This shouldn’t be a big deal.

Wouldn’t it be nice if things went to plan? Just once, even?

So we started flipping breakers, trying to determine which of the lines fed which parts of the kitchen. There are 2 lines for outlets, the stove, the fridge, some more lines for other receptacles and the lights… none of them impact the dishwasher. So we start flipping other random breakers, leaving out the upper and lower floors. The last one on the list before we get to the last-resort-upstairs-breakers is the furnace.

Naturally, they hooked the dishwasher up to the furnace. Why on earth wouldn’t you hook two items that take 15 amps up to the same 20 amp breaker? What possible reason could you have for wanting the dishwasher to stand alone?

At least now we know why there’s a switch for it.

So we spent Sunday running wire from a spare breaker (Spare. Hah! At least now I know we’re not going to increase the water pressure in the house. Ever.) and hooking it up to the dishwasher. In moving the electric, we’d decided to pull out the old wires that weren’t going to be used any more and clean up our mess. Unfortunately, that didn’t go to plan either. It turns out that there are several more wires coming out of the furnace junction, and we have no idea where they go. We decided to leave that mess well enough alone. So we capped the wires and called it good. No fire hazard, no foul.

Next weekend, we’ll try setting up the box for the extra power and putting in the new plumbing. At least the old pipes are compression fit and easy to replace.

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.

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Curtains

Who knew I would be so happy about something so insignificant. Only, it’s not insignificant. We now have real curtains in one window. Sure, they still need to have the corners tacked, but that’s simple, a ten minute job. The real thing is that they’re there. Hanging in their glory and hiding us from the world.

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.

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Wiring and molding

Well, we’ve officially done it. There’s a new timer attached to the fan in the upstairs bathroom. The molding’s even done all the way around the places that don’t touch the fireplace. But it looks like we’re going to have to choose the hearth stone before we can really get going on the fireplace front. One more thing to do. At least it’s just re-ordering.

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.

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Wiring the bathroom

Last weekend the hubby and I worked on organizing the garage. It’s not great, not really even very close yet, but now we have more room for the things that we’re getting - tools and their storage. After spending all day doing that, we were pretty energized and ready to tackle other projects. Wiring? No problem!

So off we went to replace a regular outlet with a GFCI outlet. That was pretty easy. Well, once we figured out how to get the wires out of the old outlet, it was easy. Swapped those 4 wires and we were done! But we were also looking to replace the fan switch with a timer.

The timer’s still not in. Too many wires, it’s a 20 amp decive (and the bathroom’s wired for 5 amps) and the dark conspired against us. But the hubby thinks he has a way to get it in, so we’ll try it again. Later. Maybe next time when it’s light out. At least now we know more about how the crazy electician wired the upstairs.

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.

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Sales Putz

We’re trying to find a stone that looks good for the fireplace surround and hearth. I thought this would be easy. Silly me. There are so many kinds of stone and so many places to check, all during business hours. Of course, this is nearly impossible since I actually work. But due to circumstances (known as booooring work days), my husband and I were able to head out to look at stone last week.

We started with a little place in Bellevue. They had some interesting stuff, but the pieces that I really liked were too flaky for use on the floor and not thick enough to stand up to the abuse. We decided to hit a little shop on the way home that we’ve passed a thousand times and never been in. And we will never darken their door again.

The man behind the counter, under the guise of being helpful, informed us that we’d done everything all wrong and that there was no way they could do what I wanted. He couldn’t tell the difference between a request for tile and a request for 2″ thick stone. I was instantly ready to go, but my husband is so nice (and gets embarrassed when I yell at strangers) that we stayed for another 10 minutes or so.

The worst part is that they had some really neat stone tiles there.

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.

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Fireplace work

My husband is working on the molding as I type this. He’s getting the hang of it, but we’re going to have to give my father back his nail gun today so he can work on his home. I’m really hoping we can steal it back when we come back from this mini-vacation.

This afternoon, we’re headed out to look at slate and stones for the fireplace. We’re going to be doing this work ourselves, too. I’m really looking forward to attaching the stone we choose, whichever one it is, to the wall and floor. Of course, the flagstone we choose probably won’t fit in the hearth and we’ll have to cut it, but Dad has a tool for that too. I think I’ll cross my fingers that we find something we like at this shop today.

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.

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Cosmetic overhauls

My husband and I have been working on cosmetic renovations of our house. This is basically a starter house - we know we’re not going to be there too much longer. So we’re not investing in stuff that won’t raise the value of the house, but we’re trying out some new things to see how they work. So far we’ve pulled up the carpet upstairs and repainted. We’re cutting new molding, since the old stuff couldn’t be recycled and we’ll paint it once it’s attached. It’s exciting work, but tiring and takes forever. Right now, however, it’s the only thing we’re working on where the results are tangible, and this is a huge relief.

There are a lot of things left to do before we try to sell the place. I’m going to try to keep track of them along with the lessons we learn. Right now, it’s only “measure twice, cut once.”

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.