Saturday, August 12, 2006

Day 15, Saturday- A bit behind schedule

I had just another busy day of taking care of the little things. Down in the basement, I fixed the sump pump, lighting, and doorbell. One the main floor, I repaired a ton of plaster, and patched tons of holes, both large and small.

I even swung a sledgehammer. In the house. Beats the hell out of running with scissors. So, while relieving a lot of pent-up aggression, I also demolished the old woodstove’s hearth.

As a side note, I’ve noticed that I spend more time looking for tools than using them. Sad, but true.

I've also started bring Chemo-Clementine with me, and while she has figured out the house's layout, she is still a bit skittish here.

So I worked throughout the day, trying to get back on my own self-imposed schedule. I stayed at home (skipping the Astoria Regatta) and worked away. As I sat there caulking baseboards, I realized something.

I really miss my dad. This is the first house I’ve done where he hasn’t been there. I’d like to think that I’d be farther along on this whole project, but realistically, I’d be in the same spot no matter what. You can’t control the weather, you can’t force plaster to dry faster, and you can’t see through walls without very expensive equipment.

When dad and I work together, however, the work goes a bit faster, the quality is a little better, and you don’t seem to loose as many tools. Oh well, 600 miles is a long way to come for a weekend of work, and I’m doing well enough on my own.

Of course, I had a really good teacher.

Total costs: $1,363

Friday, August 11, 2006

Day 14, Friday- Before and After

Entry (Before)
Entry (After)Living (Before)

Living (After)

Total costs: $1,353

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Day 13, Thursday- Lucky 13.

Being lucky day 13, I was able to get quite a lot accomplished. I finished painting most of the living room, and began prepping the Princesses’ Palace of Pink.

I managed to fix the broken trim in their room, get the built-in desk out, and start patching. Then I went to hang the new closet door. It is only 4 inches too short.

Only four inches. If I had a nickel for every time that was my problem I’d live on my own private island were I could sob myself to sleep in peace.

Anyways. Four inches. Well, damn. Can’t fake that with trim. I’ll think about it for a bit, then see what happens next.

My beautiful bride came by after an exciting afternoon of sitting around the Children’s Museum being nice to the very people that jacked the housing prices up so they could have a place to stay for three months a year, and smiling at the folks that let their kids dump toys and craft supplies on the floor so my wife would have something to do later.

Anyways, we went out for more supplies, visited City Lumber to pick up hardware and a couple of tools. Then we went over the bridge to Costco and bought lights and fans.

That is when the conversation took place.

“Why are you so tense when I drive?” She asked. I looked over. She was staring at me while maneuvering around logging trucks on Marine Drive at 45 mph.

I was about to die in a horrible car crash, and I knew it, so I decided that I might as answer her. “I haven’t learned to be comfortable with shedding my mortal coil, but I’m working on it.”

“I am a better driver than you! It is so not my fault that nobody else realizes that,” came her retort, in a slightly elevated voice.

I glanced over and saw that she was driving with her knees while digging through the driver side door pocket looking for something. One hand clutched a group of pens. We approached a red light at full speed, and mere seconds before impact, she applied the brakes (thank God for ABS) and came to a stop 4 inches behind the tour bus in front of us. I tried to relax my legs and calmly replied, “perhaps it is your breaking technique. You tend to brake late. I think you got that from learning to drive in Orange County.”

She went off for a bit after that, but my doctor’s note says I have trouble hearing when girls talk. I’m going to get that note laminated and keep it in my pocket at all times.

I started listening again and heard her say, “I drive defensively. I’m always avoiding accidents!”

“True, but I’ve looked up and seen the multi-car pileups you caused in the rearview mirror.”

“I’ve never been in an accident!”

“You have also never been trapped in a car for two hours because of someone else’s driving. I hope you never do get in a crash, but odds are, someday you will.”

“You know, it will probably be a tourist; or maybe an old person. No, wait; it will be an old tourist in a Buick. Just you watch.” She seems pacified.

I won’t be watching. I’ve decided to simply keep my eyes closed when she drives. I’ll pretend I’m tired and taking a little “cat nap”.

Total costs: $1,348

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Day 12, Wednesday- Aerosol Texture and Hindsight

After a good, solid evening of work, I was sitting in the big chair, with my feet up, with the laptop in, well, my lap. I had a bit of a problem, as I agreed to update this blog thing everyday. I just wasn’t prepared for days like this one, so I turned to my wife for help.

“I’m not sure what to put on the blog tonight.”

“You post the truth,” came the smirking, snide reply.

“Yeah, I’ll write about figuring out how to fix the wall in the dining room.”

“No.” She turned and stared me in the eye, “you put the other thing up.” The tone of her voice left two options- do as she says, or live celibate.

So, let me tell you a story, ripe with hindsight, about how a really stupid thing can really mess up your evening. Ready? Great, here goes:

I started the evening sanding down some rough spots in the living room. The smaller areas were ready for paint, so I decided to grab the can of spray texture and tried to touch up the repaired areas.

However, the can didn’t work. Just a little drizzle came out. So I shook the can. Nothing seemed to help. This was a new can of texture, so I figured that it was just too cold allow for adequate expansion of the propellant. I filled the sink with warm water and dropped the can in for a nice soak.

I went back and started working on the damaged walls in the dining room. Naturally, I forgot about the texture. When I finally remembered, the water was less than tepid and the can was colder than when I started. This was no good.

The funny thing, using the gift of hindsight, is that I can string together phrases like “too cold allow for adequate expansion of the propellant” but I seem to lack something called common sense.

I realized that I was probably going to flake out again, so I needed a different method to warm up the texture. I looked around and saw my answer- the oven.

Yes, the oven. I know what you’re thinking, and I’m thinking it too. Let’s skip over the whole “that was a bad idea” thing. I know it was a bad idea. That’s what hindsight is.

So I set the oven to the lowest temperature (150) and placed the can (not to be stored at temperatures over 120) inside, being careful to leave the door half-open and the can towards the front. I really should have read the warning label before the events that transpired, rather than after. Again, I understand as I am blessed with incredible hindsight.

So I went back to work in the dining room and after a few minutes, I went back to the kitchen and opened the oven door all the way…

No, the can did not explode. Nothing quite so dramatic. However, the principals behind a BLEVE (boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion) do apply. It turns out that the now warm propellant was under tremendous pressure. Good thing the can was made well.

I wrapped a towel around the can (it wasn’t super hot, but it was a bit warmer that I really wanted to hold on to) and headed to the living room. I picked the yellow straw and inserted it into the nozzle.

Thus, with that small action, all hell broke loose.

I must have pushed down on the nozzle, because it shot off and texture spewed forth in a fountain of spackle and fumes, much like a bug bomb. I took a full shot in the face, and proceeded to completely freak out.

I flipped the towel over the top of the texture geyser and ran for cool water. Thinking quickly, I headed for the toilet, tripping over my aging radio on the way (should have put it away).

One of my wife’s pet peeves is my “liberal flushing policies.” Before today, I thought she was just busting my chops. Today, I found out how completely foul two-day-old urine is. Do you want to know what is worse than two-day-old urine?

Warm two-day-old urine. That’s what I got when I dropped the can in the toilet. As I was retching, I reached over and flushed the toilet. Of course, the can pretty much blocked the toilet. The water was racing towards the brim and eventual overflow. Do you want to know what is worse than warm two-day-old urine?

Reaching into it. Like, up to your elbow. I grabbed the can, pulled it out, and spilled warm two-day-old urine all over the floor. Good to see that reaching into the primordial ooze was such an outstanding preventative measure.

I cleaned everything up, and looked at the can. The can seemed fine, so I decided to try it again. I found the nozzle (in the entry) and checked it for damage. That’s when I noticed something.

The nozzle was plugged.

Yes, plugged. A few minutes with a pushpin, and the obstruction was cleared. The (mostly empty) texture now worked fine. I textured the spots on the wall and met my bride on the front porch, ready to leave.

Well, there’s always tomorrow.

Total costs: $1,028

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Day 11, Tuesday- A day of rest.

The other responsibilities in my life did not just go away when I bought the house. Besides, I need at least one day a week away from everything. A little rest will be good. It will give me some time for paint to dry, plaster to cure- a little time to rest the body and relax a little.

So I went to fire training tonight. Dragged large diameter hose, drove an engine, ran a pump- you know, I relaxed. Only, I did it in turnouts.

There is something really wrong with me. Relaxing for most people does not include sweating though their clothes and working until their shoulders hurt. I, however, feel great.

I can not completely say I stayed away. I did go to the house and fix the plaster problems. Took about an hour and I kept my work clothes on.

Total costs: $1,028

Monday, August 07, 2006

Day 10, Monday- Paint Problems

I did it. I broke down and called a helpdesk for paint.

Yes, paint.

I was a bit perturbed, as this is supposed to be the “good stuff.” Paint like this is supposed to just jump out of the can and on to the wall. I’ve seen the commercials.

The problem was simple enough- the paint wasn’t drying. That’s a big part of what paint does, drying and all. If it didn’t dry, it would be a slimy substance somewhere between liquid and solid. There would be no form, no purpose, and no function. It would be a politician.

So I called for help. My call was answered by a nice man who said his name was Bobert (yes Bobert). He went through the initial script and politely asked what my problem was.

“The paint will not dry on the door. It has been there for almost 30 hours, but it is still tacky.” I said.

We went through a few minutes of discussion on surface preparation and application. Bobert was very polite, but I was getting a little tired of talking about brushes. I must now note that at this time, I was rather tired, and when tired, I get snarky.

“Are you sure you were using the correct type of brush, sir?” he asked.

“Alright, you got me. Actually, I grabbed two monkeys, dipped them in the paint and let them engage in hot monkey love on the door.”

Silence. Then, “how did the monkeys stay on the door, sir?”

“When covered in paint, monkeys are quite sticky.”

More silence. Then, with a heavy sign that let me know exactly how stupid and/or insane Bobert thought I was, he continued. “I believe that I found our problem sir, the monkeys probably did not apply the paint evenly. Now, if there is anything else.”

Crap! He was going to hang up! Like so many other times in my life, I went just that centimeter too far.

“Um, Bobert, there were no monkeys.” I'm sure I sounded rather sheepish. “I was just trying to be funny.”

“Monkeys in paint are not funny, sir.”

“Well, to idiots such as myself, they’re freakin’ hilarious. I apologize. Now, back to the questions.”

We finished the call rather calmly, but Bobert was obviously a bit miffed over the whole monkey episode. Turns out the problem is probably due to high humidity.

Imagine that. A humidity problem in Astoria. I drop a space heater in the room for a night or two and all should be good.

I put paint on the walls in the living room. A nice dark brown. Looks really good, mostly.

You will note that I said mostly.

Remember the whole “feathering” thing? Yeah- turns out that was crap. Now I need to do even more prep in the living room. That’s the last time I take advice from “Rudy’s Plaster Masters.” Stupid internet.

Oh well. Tried doing a whole “two-tone” paint job in the living room. On the bottom is “desired brown with a designer name” above the picture rail is “lazy bastard didn’t want to go get more paint so he slapped stuff left over from the entry up there.”

I like it. It adds character, contrast, and depth to the room. Plus, I did not have to drive to Longview and visit the hated evil empire.

My wife, however, does not. She prefers bland, uniform walls and the death of every living creature on the planet due to global warming.

I learnt how to be fair and balanced on the teevee from the Fox folks.

I’ll let it sit for a day or so, and she what she says after that. I'm sure she’ll see my point of view what with me being lord and master of the house and OW! OW! OW! OW!

Yeah, I’ll paint over that tomorrow.

Total costs: $1,028

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Day 9, Sunday- Preparations and Progress

Any hour before noon is early when the previous evening’s events prevents sleeping until 2am. Being on the job by 8:00am is just piling on the stupid.

Oh well.

Put the first coat of paint on the entry door (after three coats of primer). The color- Red Rocket, and if you watch South Park you just fell over laughing, or maybe just said eww.

I finally finished the priming of the “God-Awful-Green” trim in the living room, including those huge pocket doors.

After dinner and a quick nap, I went back to the house and painted ceilings.

Now, I am not a fan of Wal-Mart, but ceiling paint they sell is the best stuff on the planet. It hides cracks, blemishes, and anything else you can think of in just one coat. I think they use ground unicorn bones to make it (see, I still think the company is evil).

I finished the evening playing with my caulk. Tomorrow, I will be able to paint.

Total costs: $1,028