Sunday, December 30, 2007
Anyway, one really cool thing about my fridge is this magic box in the freezer portion! It was empty when I first plugged the fridge in but only a few hours later, it was full of ice cubes!! My God! What sorcery! And if I come and get a bunch of these ice cubes out and then go away for just a little while, it is full again when I come back! Is technology not wonderful? I love this thing! And I don't have to do anything to make it make ice! I'm tempted to just throw some of the ice out the window just to see it make some more! AHH, hahahahaha! Iced tea, anyone? Unsweet, of course. I was talking to one of the guys at work who is about my age and he was telling me how his daughters had never seen ice cube trays before until they found some over at their grandmother's house in the garage. You remember the old metal kind with the lever you pulled up. And we were talking about how we used to make Kool-Aid popsicles with them. Oh well, damn those things I'll keep my magic ice maker.
I have not done much work on the house since moving in. We had Christmas off but have had to work 10's since to make up and I have had some other stuff going on. I'm not sure what my next project will be. Siding probably and some more exterior work.
Hope you all had great holidays and I wish you all the best for the new year coming.
Monday, December 24, 2007
I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas time. May your households be filled with joy.
Merry Christmas Philip, I hope you do receive a book or two or other special treat.
Thanks for the Christmas card Karen and Regina. Sorry I did not send any out this year. I just couldn't swing it.
I'm going to go put my tree up now and get ready to cook a good Christmas breakfast in the morning.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
The filter is this giant thing that has a gravel-like medium in the bottom (about 10") and then on top of that is this "Micro Z" stuff. Which is a natural mineral that is mined and ground up to resemble coarse sand, fired in a kiln and sifted. It is supposed to filter down to 5 microns, which is pretty fine. It may have been overkill (regular sand will go down to 20 microns) but I'm not taking any chances any more. It took all day to run the filter through the stages and flush out all the dust in the media. I was surprised at that. You would think they would wash the stuff or something before they send it to you. It took about 3 hours of running water to flush everything and get it working but it is great now. The water is sooo clear! I have the filter set to backwash itself every 3 days I believe. This cycle takes about 50 minutes. It washes out through the septic system so it has to tied into a drain line somewhere. I am very pleased with the system so far and the company that I ordered from which was Excel Water Technologies. They were very fast to answer questions and call me back when the media stuff did not show up. I would really recommend these people if you are looking for a filter.
I bought a Christmas tree. It is sitting out in the yard. I am waiting until I can move in to put it up. I have always thought it was funny that a holiday could bring about a state of mind where it is considered normal to drag the biggest tree you can get into your house and stand it up. Any other time people would think you were mad. It would be the best Christmas I ever had if I were able to wake up in my house on Christmas morning this year. The gas lines are almost all run. I have to work all weekend but Allen is going to put in the last of the lines tomorrow. I couldn't do that anyway but I am going refrigerator shopping after I get off work tomorrow. I think I finally found what I want. The gas company said they would be at the house Monday morning to set the tank so I could have heat by Monday night. Not sure when I'll be back but I'll let ya'll know if it looks like I'll make it in before the 24th.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Well, on other subjects, the photo shows some of the many rafter tails that I have had to cut in around. I love that detail but it is a pain in the butt to do. I did learn one trick to painting close to something like that though. I have several areas in the house where drywall butts up to wood or steel and it never seems to finish nice right on the edge. It's always got a ragged little crack and you just can't make a straight paint line there, or I can't anyway. So, what I learned to do was, after I had sanded the sheetrock as best I could, I ran a small bead of clear, siliconized acrylic caulk down this joint, making it very smooth. After the caulk dries (clear, it will be white before dry) you can cut in a very smooth paint line against the wood and if any caulk gets on the wood or steel, you don't see it.
Well, I am afraid I made a butthole comment on Florida Cracker's site about his little talking Christmas tree and my wanting to smack it with a stick. I hope I did not offend him; I was really just joking. I wouldn't really hurt it but those things like that kind of give me the willies. Oh well, sorry.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Well, the house is progressing. Allen hooked up the new water filter but they did not ship the filter media so the filter is just bypassed for now. It is always something. I am still trying to find out where the media is and what is going on. I painted both living room walls and cleaned and waxed the steel truss. It looks great and now I can take the scaffold down! I will be so happy to get that out of the house. It looks like it will still be Dec. 12th, 13th before my propane tank is delivered and hooked up so no permanent heat yet. There are so many little things to do such as window trim all around, I need to finish the pantry walls. I still have just a little tile work in the shower yet and a small area of slate to install in the bathroom. I thought at first I was going to have a built in shelving unit there but changed my mind. I need to build the bathroom vanity and install the sink. I can also install the speakers in the living room now. Hey, but we got the ceiling fans working properly! We found a transformer type controller that had high enough amperage to run both fans but low enough that there is actually a definite difference in the speeds. I was given one controller but the amperage was so high that there was essentially no difference in speeds. It was just on (and very fast) or off. Electrical things confound me so I did not realize these fans could pose such a problem. I'll try to get some more photos soon. I want to get straighten out some so I can throw soon. I would like to make some pottery for Christmas gifts but am being very cautious about actually having time. Oh, yeah, I painted the front door but you can't see it until I am completely done and it is decorated for Christmas! I have become so frustrated with not having time to work on the outside of the house that I actually dreamed the other night that I just started painting the Tyvek. I couldn't stand looking at that white paper anymore. Allen asked me what I was doing and I just told him to go away and let me do it. After I move in, I think the next big project is going to be the siding.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The new sediment filter arrived this week and we will be installing that this weekend. I am very anxious to get that working because then I can take a hot shower in my house! I plan to do a lot of painting and some general organizing etc. I am still moving my pottery studio to the house and so I have stuff thrown everywhere. I need to start moving construction materials out of the house. Oh! And I think I may be able to take down the scaffolding! Yea!! I'll be sooooo glad to get that thing out of there.
Things are starting to change and I am getting very anxious to be in the house. I feel like I just want to board myself up in the house and become a recluse sometimes. I'm not sure why. Stress maybe? And other times I want to invite everyone to come and stay with me. I'm going nuts I think. Allen says that is a very short trip.
Monday, November 26, 2007
This is just the backside of that same wall and you can see some of the wiring for the kitchen counter tops. Oh, there will be bookshelves on either side of the heater up to that bar height which is 4 feet. On top of this wall I can display some ceramics or sculpture.
And look! that is HOT water coming out of that shower head. Wooohooo!! No, I have not actually taken a shower yet. I can't find a #$%^&* shower curtain rod that I like. And I really need to install the new sediment filter, which came today, and get the water cleared up. The filters that I have on the lines now also greatly reduce the water pressure so I am anxious to get them off and this new filter on. It is supposed to only reduce pressure by 1 psi which should leave me plenty. I'll show lots of details about that as we install it.
And I painted this wall, almost. It needs another coat as I saw tonight that I have lots of holidays in it. I also need to get a taller ladder or shorter scaffold to do the rest on the right there. The color is a darker version of what I did the bedroom and clerestory walls in. I like earthy, vibrant colors as you can tell. Wait 'til you see the kitchen color! You can also see one of the ceiling fans here. I don't remember if I have shown them before. They are an industrial type fan in brushed nickel.
Well, the countdown is to be in before Christmas. I told the guys at work that I am going to go ahead and buy the biggest Christmas tree that I can afford and keep it outside until I move in so there is no backing down now! I might be decorating that tree on Christmas Day but it will be there!!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
We got a good bit done on the house over the holiday. I had 4 days off from work so that has been nice. We installed the sleeve for the gas line and got that covered back up. That is what Allen is doing here with Oliver before he ripped his box blade in half while trying to smooth out a new part of the driveway. I finished building the wall between the kitchen and living room and installed the heater there. It is just waiting on the installation of the gas tank and lines. We installed the shower fixtures and connected the water heater so I now have running hot water! It is sooo glorious! Spring water is extremely cold. Of course, it is probably costing me a small fortune to heat that spring water in that electric water heater. I will be very happy when I have my solar water system up and running but that will be put off until summer at least. I ordered a new sediment filter and it is on it's way. I finally chose a good color for the living room and painted the high gable wall that required the scaffolding to reach. I need to run a little trim there and touch up the paint this week and I can get that scaffold out of the house. We ran the circuits in the new kitchen wall for plugs etc. but I need to get some more Romex so we can make the home run. The ceiling fans are still not operating correctly and the water is still slightly muddy. The wasp population is down considerably but they are still coming in from somewhere. I can't figure that one out. I hope to get the gas tank delivered this week and have it hooked up by the end of next weekend. It really looks like I might move in by Christmas. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Monday, November 19, 2007
OK, these photos are from some work we did this past weekend. Allen had rented a backhoe to do some work on his land so he scooped out this section for me to put the propane tank. The top photo is where the parking area is going to be and we graded on that just a little bit, then he dug this little area over to the side and scratched out the trench for the gas line. The line will enter the house right under the stone work so it is sort of a straight shot. Allen was proud that I decided on something simple. I will build a little retaining wall against this bank (there will be several retaining walls in this area for the parking etc.) and plant some shrubs and stuff to hide the tank. Hopefully, we can get the gas lines ran, the living room painted and the scaffolding completely down over the Thanksgiving holiday.
I finally finished grouting the shower this weekend! I just need to clean the tile and lay the final few pieces that I was short when they come in. I also located my power outlets on the new kitchen wall ( no actual wiring yet though) and cleaned up around the house. It had rained a little recently so we finally burned a couple of brush piles that have been around for months. Clumsy me fell against an iron pot that I had a small fire in and burnt my shoulder. Now I'll have a nice scar to show off at the Christmas party when I finally get to wear that nice sleeveless dress. Oh well, it will match all the others.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
So, OK, in this photo you can see where we have formed up one side of the wall completely. The whalers (the horizontal 2x4's) and stiff backs (the vertical 2x4's) are all on etc. All those small rods sticking out from the wall are the snap ties. For standard forming you would drill (5/8" hole) your plywood on a 16" grid pattern for the ties. Remember to start 8" off the edges though so that when you butt 2 pieces of plywood together, you have 16" between ties. This works for walls up to 16" thick. Now, there are tons of variations on tie spacing and even using all johnny clamps or all pig's feet but this is the most common method.
Normally, you run 2 johnny clamps, then a stiff back etc. but this can vary too. The johnny clamps hold the whalers and the pig's feet hold the stiff backs. When you get your plywood stood up and nailed off plumb to the rat sill, stick your ties through the holes (short tails for where the clamps go and long tails for the stiff backs) and put your johnny clamps on (loosely fastened). Next, lay your whalers in the clamps. You will have to take your hammer and give them a good whack. Make sure to let enough of them run wild on the ends to lock your corners. You may need to add some temporary bracing now to help the wall stay plumb. Now, stand your stiff backs up. you just sandwich the long tails of the snap ties between two 2x4's and slip the pig's foot on the button of the tie. Tighten the pig's foot down. I usually toe nail the stiff backs on opposite sides at the top and bottom whaler because the pig's feet can loosen up. Some bosses will curse you for this though. Also, alternate the direction of the pig's feet (see photo) and drive an 8 penny nail in that little hole in the foot. This helps hold the stiff backs together also. Generally, you do not nail the stiff backs to one another.
This is a view from on top of the wall looking down into it. Those little cones on the ties hold the plywood a prescribed distance apart. You can sort of see how the tails of the ties are used to hold the hardware. This part of the tie stays in the wall after it is poured. The tails are designed to break off when you wreck the forms, thus the name "snap ties".
This is the wall almost completely done. The carpenter is locking the corners. To do that, you simply lay another, shorter whaler across the ends of the whaler held by clamps and nail it off where they cross. Make sure this whaler is up tight! Two nails at each cross point and make sure that these short whalers run wild also by about 6" as you are now going to add 2 vertical 2x4's in this corner you have just made. This has been done on the left side of the wall. You nail these 2x's in an "L" shape in the corner, 2 nails at each whaler, both sides. The concrete will be pressing outward on the whalers and these corner locks hold the crossed whalers and keep them from moving outward. So, they must all be as tight to one another as possible. This is a very simplified lesson so if I did not explain something clearly, please ask me to clarify. Oh, yeah, after all this you still have to add the turnbuckles and plumb the wall etc. It is easier to do this just after you get the whalers and stiff backs on but before you have everything tightened down and locked off. Generally, every stiff back gets a turnbuckle to get a nice, straight wall.
The house is progressing slowly. I grouted some more this evening but am still not finished with the shower. The house is wearing on me a lot lately. I am having trouble finding a proper control for the ceiling fans. That has been a frustrating ordeal and I guess what I get for ordering industrial fans instead of residential. The house gets invaded everyday by wasps. There are usually 20-30 wasps in the house every time I go down and open up. I have no idea where they are coming from. Everything seems to cost $1,000. The shower, the heat, the siding etc. I seem to keep coming up just slightly short on all my material; tile, grout, paint, plywood. The water is still muddy; I must get another filter. That's another $500.00. I should not complain at all though. So many people have done so much to help me. I've just been working almost every day for over 2 years now to build this house and I'm really getting tired but I just need to suck it up and keep going. It's just one thing at a time.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Here you would be standing in the living area (by the door) looking into the kitchen. Now, on this side of the wall there is going to be this really cool built in book shelf unit that covers most of it and within that I am going to install this gas heater. That my sound odd but it is this really cool modern looking wall mount heater that is made to be flush with a wall surface. I think it will look nice. If I can find a photo I will try to include a link. I think this is it. http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=267514-51507-SSRD200T-CB&lpage=none You may have noticed that there is not much room at all for wall cabinets in my kitchen. That's right! I hate wall cabinets! I have a rather large pantry and will have a good bit of space with floor cabinets so I plan to use a few open shelves on maybe 2 walls for placement of dishes etc. I hate lots of stuff. We all have way to much stuff. I want to pare my kitchen and everything really, down to just the essentials and am, at some point, make myself a nice, whole set of my own dishes so they will look nice sitting out where they can be seen.
You may have also noticed that this wall does not seem to have much support since it does not connect to the ceiling. Well, you ought to know better. I ran 3 studs (2 of the 8' and 1 of the 4') down through the floor, interrupting the bottom plate and nailed it off to the floor joist below. This strengthens the wall considerably. This was Allen's idea so I can't take credit. When the cabinets and countertops are added that will also add a lot of stability.
See my messy caulking job! It looked much better up top.
Well, now I'm having a breakdown over where to put the propane tank for the house. The best location will be inaccessible to vehicles in the future so I don't want to put it there. The next one puts it more in view but really accessible. The next best, as far as hiding it goes, means running more line thus more money but it would also be very accessible. Allen says again that I must one day do something the easy way. What's that?
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Well, we had our first actual freeze here last night and of course, I had waited until the last minute to do anything to protect the pipes coming out of the spring, the ones in the pump house etc. But I ran home from work as quick as I could and got busy insulating and covering and boarding up and everything seems to have come through OK. One major project for this coming weekend is going to be building doors for the pump house and under the house though. Also, the the spring is going to have to be closed up better than what I have on it now. I just wrapped the pipes as best as I could with insulation and threw a thick tarp over the opening of the spring. Then I mulched heavily over that and placed rocks all around the edges to hold in the warmth from the earth. I think I will lay up a stone wall ( much like a well would have) and then cap it off with a little insulated roof of some kind.
The next major thing now is to get heat on in the house. Allen and I discussed where to put the propane tank this afternoon and he is going to go during the day tomorrow and see about getting that going. I have talked to the plumbers at work about the size and type of gas lines to run and have gotten that pretty much decided, so now it's just doing it. And having the money for it.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Here are just a couple of pics of the tile work in the shower. I have most of the tile installed at this point and will have those photos up soon I hope. I picked a commercial, unglazed porcelain tile in a speckled light brown. I think it goes well with the slate and I just love the unglazed texture. It won't be slippery when it's wet either. I think it has a nice contemporary look too in the 2x2 size. It comes in 1'x2' sheets so it actually goes down pretty quickly once you get the lines laid out. Now, I ordered this from a local tile company rather than buying from Lowe's or one of those stores. The selection is so much better from a good tile supplier and they know what you need. I did try to find something at Lowe's because they had 2x2 tiles for about half what I paid for this but they just can't get you all you need. I wanted the cove tiles for the inside corners, bullnose for the edges, etc. and the people at Lowe's just look at you like you are asking them to pull a camel out of their ear if you want them to order such a thing.
Here you can see that I laid out 2 walls so that I could establish the joints going across and back. I installed these tiles and then had a secure basis for starting the tiles going up the walls while still having room to stand in the shower and work on the walls. I hate to sound like I am bragging but my good karma has just been hitting right on lately. If you look at the tiles closely you might see that the tiles all work out perfectly with no cuts at all across or back. The joints are all evenly spaced etc. Well, when we built this shower, I had no idea what kind of tile or anything that I was going to use so the size of the shower was just kind of arbitrary. We did not try to size the shower for the tile or anything, yet it hit dead on! If I had tried to size it I probably would have screwed it up royally. I got my mojo going on! Well, anyway... I really like those cove bottom corners because it gives you a nice smooth corner to clean. No sharp corners to try and get in there and scrub.
I'm still having to work Saturdays in Birmingham so things are not going as fast I would like although they never do. Tomorrow I hope to install the last pieces of tile that required cuts. These are the ones on the end of the curb, the vertical corners and I installed 2 cool shelves and need to cope the tile in around them. Then maybe one night during the week I can grout the whole thing. Allen installed the shower fixtures today so I could have a working shower by next weekend.
Monday, October 29, 2007
These photos go in reverse order so if the progress of the building seems odd that is why. This is one of the concrete pours we made not too long ago. That big arm thing stretched out there is the concrete pump truck. Most of the time we can just pour straight out of the truck but sometimes you have to pump it if the trucks can't get near the forms. We pour about 150-250 yards at a time on this job. That is nothing compared to some really big jobs. This was taken when it was still pretty warm here and so we started pouring before the sun was up.
I love the smell of concrete in the morning! OK, enough of my Duvall impersonation. This is the business end of the pump truck. One guy has to guide the hose so the concrete is shot where you want it. The other guys are vibrating the concrete so that it gets around the rebar well etc. These pours can last for hours and you don't stop unless the concrete does. We can take turns running to get a drink or bathroom break. This is why I am so tired sometimes and don't always feel like working on my house.
A lot of people can't see why I do this and think that the men mistreat me. They are construction workers after all, you know. My brother, the minister, always says that construction ruined me but I think construction saved me. Before I was very, very shy and had no self confidence. I had always been used to working but did not realize what a person could do given a few tools. A successful construction worker learns 2 things: 1. Leave your feelings at home. 2. A construction worker can do anything. Even the most daunting tasks are "just a thang". You just take it one step at a time. So many people seem so amazed or whatever at the work I do but I'm not doing anything that most people can't do. It's all learned. Wonderful old carpenters and steel workers taught me and had patience with me. They teased me and pestered me until I opened up and would talk. And yeah, I get asked out and given gifts and phone numbers but mostly in very gentlemanly ways. They know how to give a nice compliment and have given me a lot of self confidence. These men are almost better to me than my own family. They are not how most of society views them, as knuckle dragging morons. Yes, of course, I have met a few who were but I've met plenty of white collar males that would fit that description too. Now, there have been some times that I could have choked some of them and had to pitch a few "come aparts" as we say, to get some respect but all in all, I couldn't ask for better guys to work with. I always say now that when I first started, the guys would call me "sweetheart" and ask me out, now they all call me "ma'am" and offer to carry my tools.... I'm not sure which I prefer.
The house is progressing albeit slowly. I started the shower tile and will have photos of that soon. The next big item is to get heat on in the house and hot water. My fixtures are on their way from somewhere so I'm hoping to have a working shower maybe in about a week. I've been trying to relax a little lately and not get so worked up about the house but I'm not sure it's working. The results from my heart tests came back and it's nothing bad but it's skipping beats a lot now and it makes me very tired sometimes. Not sure what to do about it. Be back soon!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Here is a little better view of what we have done. You can see the stone work approaching from the far side. The stone lays out flush with the front of the block work so the windows will be recessed into the stone about 3 inches. I will wrap the outside of the windows where you see the bare wood, with a rubber membrane to keep the moisture out. It's the same stuff we used in the window sills before we set the windows upstairs. This is some cool new plywood too. Well, I don't know how new a product it is but this is the first time Allen and I had seen it. It's called Dryply. It's apparently just CDX with one side embedded with a water repellent. Looks like good stuff. Could have really used that when we put the sub floor down. It's tongue and groove stuff too.
So, this is the "basement" now. My pottery studio will go down here and some storage. This area you see here is where the washer and dryer will go for now. We need to continue that wood frame wall on the right a little more and put up a door and it will be dried in then.
I was finally able to order the tile for the shower and it is on it's way! YEA!!! I have a feeling I will be down there installing that stuff at night to get a little further along. We are working so much that I now only have Sunday to work on the house. I'm making lots of money to buy stuff for the house but no time to put it up. I'm not complaining though. It is funny though that not too long ago when I was laid off, I had lots of time for the house but no money. Ain't that just the way things go?
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Ok, here is the scenario: I am the only female working with 20-25 male carpenters, electricians etc. on this job. Then you have all the male train conductors, engineers etc. Well, shortly after coming on this job, I just happen to notice this one conductor, I guess that is what his is; he rides the front of the locomotive and he switches the tracks to move the locomotives from one track to another. Anyway, this means he is on the ground near us some and walking around so we can sometimes talk a little to these guys. Just general pleasantries as most of them are friendly and curious about what we are doing. Well, this particular guy is honestly, one of the most handsome men I have seen in some time. I know I just gawked the first time I saw him coming down the track and he looked down at me and smiled so that didn't help. He is a big man, tall and broad shouldered and dresses much neater than the others. So, despite being around men so much I am the biggest dork when I get near a man like this. I am clumsy enough as it is and I just lose all composure. Well, on the rare occasion that we are close enough to speak, he would make small talk about this and that but we could never talk more than a few seconds and never get within 20 feet of each other since we are both working, so it was not really possible to "break the ice", you know. In fact, we don't even know his name, so he has just become known to all of us as the Switchman.
Now, a little history on the other side. My guys on the crew look out for me and are really sweet so I try to make cookies or pies for them sometimes and pamper them a little and make them feel good. Well, this summer I grew a bunch of Moon and Stars watermelons and I brought 2 or 3 to work to share with the guys. Now, part of the crew eats in the office trailer, as I do, and the rest eat under a little shelter by the tool shed. So, one day I cut part of a large watermelon for the guys and was taking the majority of it out to the men by the tool shed. Well, one of the guys suggested that I cover the melon up with a bag because it might get dusty before I could get it out there. So, I did and headed out the door carrying my prize to them. As I got halfway, I saw that they were running the trains across the road and had it blocked so I would have to walk around the locomotives to get to the guys and, lo and behold, who was on the track but the Switchman. And when he saw me coming he started walking towards the area where I would have to cross over the track. It occurred to me then that I would finally be within a couple of feet of him and get to see him up close. I thought to myself, OK, don't say something stupid. Just remain calm. Breathe deep. So, sure enough, we meet on the tracks and he smiled and made a little joke about blocking the road and I laughed coyly and joked back. Ha, ha... He seemed even more manly up close but I restrained myself from throwing the watermelon down and grabbing him. Now, after 14 years of working construction, I can't hear worth a damn especially with trains around. And I had completely forgotten that I had covered that stupid watermelon and he probably couldn't even tell what I was carrying. So, as I passed by him and I heard him say something about something looking nice and being in my usual mental fog intensified by him, I just assumed that he was talking about the watermelon. Not wanting him to think that I was impolite, I turned and sweetly asked him, "Well, would you like some?"..................... the look on that man's face when I said that should have been a clue to me that we were not talking about the same thing. He recovered quickly though, stepped towards me and said so sincerely, "Lord, honey, I wish I could". It still did not occur to me what I had done, so I just said, "OK!" and wandered off to the guys. I did think that was a kind of odd response but just thought, boy, he must really like watermelon. Later in the day as I was driving home, my mind was slowly meandering over the day's events, I started thinking about things and finally, it hit me what had transpired. Oh. My. God.... I just offered this beautiful man, who I don't even know by name, wanton sex on the railroad tracks. Mortified is not the word.
I had to fix this, so the next day I enlisted the help of one of my guys who drives the backhoe. They were not going to get any more brownies or fried pies until the Switchman understood that there had been a horrible glitch in communications! After all, I was taking that watermelon to them and that had started the whole thing. So, Steve, being a major sweetie, finally gets where he can talk to the Switchman and tells him that there was a terrible misunderstanding over some watermelon and that I needed to explain something to him. Well, a few hours pass and I saw out of the corner of my eye, a train approaching. The Switchman was on board and as we both looked up, our eyes locked on each other at the same time but fear suddenly griped me. God, this man thinks I am a complete idiot or worse! But then I saw a big smile spread across his face and he breaks out in the deepest laugh that I could hear over the locomotive. He came by later and we talked for a moment and he assured me that he was not offended and understood the confusion.
Of course, amongst my crew, I will never, ever, ever live this down. It has become known as the Watermelon Incident. They tell me that I have single handedly set all women construction workers back 30- 40 years and am the kind that gives us all such a bad reputation. Well, at least I give them something to laugh about.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I used galvanized screws (2") I think, to secure the deck boards. Two screws per joist. Pressure treated lumber wants to warp badly as it dries and this will hopefully hold and keep the boards straighter than nailing would. Screws don't back out. This was my job as Allen can't stay bent over all day anymore like I can. But it wasn't without repercussans for me either. I was sore the whole next day. Pressure treated lumber also shrinks quite a bit so you want to fit the boards as tight as possiblle to one another. As it dries you will get a little gap between each board but if they are tight to begin with, it will be minimal.
This past weekend we built a small temporary ramp up to the deck for moving large objects (like furniture!) into the house and finally got the ceiling fans installed. The house has been very cool in the mornings now that we are in the low 50's at night but when the apartment is getting uncomfortably warm in the afternoon, the house is still so nice and cool. No air conditioning is needed, where as we still need it regularly at the apartment.
I will try to post again soon. There is much to tell, both here and I have some good stories from work that I think you will enjoy. I have not been feeling so well lately so I am behind on news. My ticker is not working so good and they have me all wired up with this contraption tonight to find out why. My heart wears me out, especially since we have been working 6 days a week now but I will try to catch up soon! I appreciate everyone who reads this blog and hope somebody gets some decent info out of it.
Monday, October 08, 2007
We used the old ledger system to frame the deck. Here, you have a 2x2 that you nail at the bottom of the band that your joists rest on. Oh, the band is 2x10's and the joists are 2x8's. Most people use joist hangers ( those metal U shaped things) but this is what they did before those were invented and probably cheaper.
We used 16 penny galvanized, spiral nails to nail the framing together with. Code requires 3 nails below each joist in the ledger. The band on this side will be bolted to the house with probably 3/8" carriage bolts but for now it is just nailed. I need to do that soon though. Each joist gets 4 nails at each end into the band also.
This past weekend we started the decking. These are five quarter deck boards by 5 1/2" wide. Of course, you know that most dimensional lumber is not the size it is referred to. For example, 2x4s are actually 1 1/2" x 3 1/2". A board that is referred to as "five quarter" is actually a full one inch thick. Whatever. Now, how you put down the deck boards can be done a million different ways and they probably all work fine. This is what we did. We determined a dimension about center of the deck lengthwise that would allow the boards to end with about an inch overhang on the outer edge. We popped a chalk line and began running the boards off of that line. Now, we are using 16' long boards and pressure treated lumber can be wiggly. It can start to get out of square etc. the further you run it, so this way we are only running off our reference line 6 feet in both directions rather than 12 feet if we just started right off the house. Shorter runs make for less room for error. That goes for anything.
Well, that is all of my pics for now. I will show the almost finished product next; hopefully soon. I'm still trying to come up with a handrail design so that is not on yet and we have no steps either. Still climbing up a stupid ladder to get in the house! I will try to get back quickly and if I did not explain something right ( more than likely) please ask me to explain and I will reply. Work has been rough on me lately so I'm down a little on posting. We have had to work some overtime and I'm not as young as I used to be. I'm so bruised and cut up from the job that I am moving pretty slow right now. I need to get some deck furniture so that I can rest some on my new porch! Yeah, like maybe 10 minutes.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I thought this set of bowls came out the best but, as I said, one of these was messed up by the fragments that fell into it during the firing. Oh well, I still have a set of three. Karl mentioned how my work might change or be influenced by moving into my house and I had never really thought of that before. I bet there will be some change though. I'm thinking that just the sheer joy of living there will bring a new liveliness to my work. I already feel it in me. I know it's just a house but it has been such a long time in coming for me. Everything has come together so well too with friends helping me and finding so much good material to use on the house. I do still get overwhelmed with what is left to do but overall I am so excited and everyday is fun, even at work. We have a blast there and the guys keep me encouraged.
A reader from Mobile asked if I dug my own clay that I use for the pottery or do I buy it. I buy it! There is no way that I would have the time or patience to dig my own. There are some good veins of clay in Alabama but those folk potters can have it. I buy mine from Highwater Clays in Asheville, NC. He also asked if I had contacted the local museum with my work. As a matter of fact, I had a little exhibit there for about 6 months. As far as I know, it did not get me any contacts or business. I also had a little exhibit at the local library for about a month. That did a little better as I think I had 2 or 3 people come over to my studio from there. Oh, and thanks Karen, for noticing my piece at the fair! Fred talked me into that one. I think I was the only entry in that category so that's how I won the big $7 prize! Hey, got me a sandwich on the way home from work so I'm not complaining.
The workshop we attended was in Smithville, TN at the Appalachian Center for Crafts and this was a really big lake nearby, not sure which one. It was a beautiful region but then again, most of Tennessee is very pretty to me.
A fairly dramatic change has occurred at the house today, I think. We started framing the entrance deck which will one day be the dogtrot or breezeway, when the other half is built. It is going to be very nice. I will try to post photos soon. My ceiling fans came but they are missing a part that is preventing me from hanging them. I could just choke someone. I have had more aggravation from those things. I bought the trim to run in the bedroom around the windows and might get to that tomorrow. We'll see. I am also trying to pick the final paint color for the living/dining room. Oh, now I'm starting to get overwhelmed again! See what you all have done! Ohhh, I need to go eat some chocolate I think. Yeah Pablo, we'll build your house but you got to keep us in chocolate.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Here Allen is running the troweling machine which is a wonderful invention but one that really requires some know-how in order to not screw the surface up. Allen has very little know-how and I have none at all when it comes to these things but we managed to get by OK. You have to go over the slab several times to get a very smooth surface. I did all the, down on your knees work. It doesn't seem like it to a lot of people but this is some of the hardest work out there. I know one finisher who is in his early 70's and still does a little work (finishing). I don't see how. He is one tough man.
We moved my basic pottery equipment down as soon as possible so that I could start throwing some stuff for that workshop coming up this weekend. I really felt good to just back into some clay and the weather was absolutely beautiful this past weekend. It was so peaceful and relaxing to be working down at the house. What I am doing in this photo is called centering and so part of the title to this post. Allen has been telling me for a while now that he doesn't feel, that I feel yet, that this house is my home. Did that make sense? And I have agreed. I guess I have been without a place to call home for so long that it still has not sunk in yet that this is my home. I have never, in my adult life, had a place that I was not renting or could call my home. But when I was throwing this weekend it suddenly felt like I was home. Everything felt centered.
We took my sign down from the downtown store and put it up at the house and that helped a lot. Now I just have to get all the rest of my stuff moved.
I tried to order my ceiling fans but the store said they were on back order until November so I canceled that order and ended up finding some I liked better at a better price elsewhere so I am going to try ordering them again! Still trying to get tile ordered or bought for the shower and pick out some kind of shower fixtures. Not much happening at the house otherwise. Oh, Allen did install the window in the bathroom. I'll have to show that soon.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
These photos are from some work I did over the weekend. I have had to replace a couple of sections of sub-flooring in the house. It took me so long to get the house dried in that the floor got wet several times and a couple of pieces of plywood started to delaminate. We sprayed everything heavily with water seal but it didn't stop all of it. Maybe it helped some. I think I have a couple of floor joists with a more substantial crown to them than I previously noticed that contributed to these pieces becoming lumpy also. The new pieces were glued and screwed down well since they do not have the tongue and groove edge that the original decking has. It used 3/4" CDX for the patches. A lot of people want to use chip board or particle board (OSB) for their sub flooring and I will tell you; just bite the bullet and pay for the CDX. You will hate the other and will save yourself many heartaches by using real plywood. Same for your sheathing. We are going to try to start moving my pottery equipment this week to my new studio and setting up. I'll try to get photos soon. Oh! and I received my first UPS shipment to my home yesterday!! I'm a real person now!!