My home, my castle: Living room renovation - Weekend update #2

A long Saturday was spent sanding & applying additional coats of mud in an effort to get the walls ready for applying knock-down texture.

I also opened up the fireplace to learn that a live electrical switch that is designed for a fireplace blower instead runs to just an outlet... the builder or fireplace installer didn't include the blower. I'll now run that electrical line to an outlet that I'm going to flush-mount on the fireplace mantle for Christmas lights.

And in going through the debris left by a vacating tenant at one of our rental houses, my wife had to bring this spray home. We'd be tempted to spray it through the entire house if Money House Blessing Money Pine Spray containing genuine 9 Indian money pine oil didn't smell like body odor.


Bravery of Lt. Col. Paul Yingling

Reading the brave editorial by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling, deputy commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Armed Forces Journal reminded me of a statement made by former Chief Justice Earl Warren, "Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for."


Sunrises may not be overrated

While sunrises and sunsets can be beautiful, I'm not a morning person... especially after a red-eye... especially after flying out the day before. My wife and I have this saying that, "Sunrises are overrated," but this morning I was almost convinced they're not, especially from 30,000 feet.


Grow, damnit!

The title for today's blog was from a sign in my great Uncle Paul's garden. While Uncle Paul is long gone, those words live on since every time I think of planting a garden I'm reminded of them.

As I continue to work on the living room renovation, this weekend I took some time out with my 3 1/2 year old daughter to plant a garden. For years I've wanted to grow tomatoes and peppers for my wife's homemade salsa but never did. Since my daughter has asked to plant one for a couple of months, I told her we could as long as she would help. I let her know there was a lot of work involved in planting a garden, but she was eager to help. I thought it would be a great educational opportunity for her but quickly realized this applied to me as well.

Last week I was on the road all week, so Friday night she and I had some daddy/daughter time at the park and then went to Home Depot for Sugar Baby watermelon, Cayenne pepper, and Lemon Queen sunflower seeds. Then it was off to Pike Nursery to get JalapeƱo pepper and Big Boy tomato starter plants. Saturday morning we got our tools together and loaded some compost into the wheel barrow to dump it on the site we'd chosen for our garden.

It was during this process that I learned what my wife already knew. "Daddy, can we plant a garden?" really means, "Daddy, can I watch you do all of the work to prepare the garden so that I can do the fun stuff like plant seeds, transplant the starter plants, and spray the water hose?" She was a good sport, and I was able to cajole and bribe her into helping me with most of the work, especially picking up acorns and rocks from our future garden. I was able to get my rototiller working, which saved us a lot of time in preparing the soil. By Sunday afternoon, everything was in the ground. We should start harvesting peppers and tomatoes around the second week of July.


Day of Mourning

My wife noted that while the English language has a word for a child who has lost his/her parents and a word for one spouse who loses the other, there is no word for a parent who has lost a child. She suggested the reason for this omission is because it is never supposed to happen. Regrettably it did this week.

Someone I worked with in the past knows the family of Rachael Elizabeth Hill. Rachael was murdered on Monday at Virginia Tech. What hit me the most is knowing that her parents will never again feel the embrace of a child they love; Rachael was an only child.

On this day of mourning and remembrance of those killed at Virginia Polytechnic, I haven't forgotten the family of the murderer, Seung-Hui Cho. I imagine that feeling "hopeless, helpless, and lost" only touches on the depths of their despair.


My home, my castle: Living room renovation - Weekend update #1

While I spent the week out of town for work, my wife sanded the wood doors so that they're ready to paint. This weekend I finished installing the corner bead and then taped and applied the first coat of mud bed to all of the drywall seams (and corner bead). My goal is to have all of the drywall work done by next Sunday night.


2007 Entertainment Books now 50% off

I typically save the cost of my Entertainment Book with one or two purchases, and now you can save even more with 50% off the price of the 2007 Entertainment Book. Prices for several cities are below:

Dallas... was $27.00 now $13.50
Seattle... was $37.00 now $18.50
Atlanta... was $27.00 now $13.50
Chicago... was $27.00 now $13.50
Orlando... was $32.00 now $16.00
Boston... was $32.00 now $16.00
San Francisco... was $32.00 now $16.00
Washington DC... was $32.00 now $16.00
Phoenix... was $32.00 now $16.00
New York City... was $32.00 now $16.00

This promotion ends April 30.


My home, my castle: Living room renovation - Day 8

My effort to use plastic sheeting as a barrier to try and keep drywall dust isolated was in vain. Dust is everywhere, and I mean everywhere. It even got into second floor rooms where the doors were closed.

I ran out of drywall at 5:00am, so I got a few hours of sleep Saturday night/Sunday morning. I then made the trip to Home Depot for one last 4x8 sheet along with some corner bead. I finished hanging the last of the drywall in the TV nook and then installed its recessed light. I also screwed down some plywood over the hole in the floor so as to not lose any children to the void of the basement.

The rest of the day was spent clearing out the room, cleaning up, and preparing for the family to come home.

While I didn't get everything on my list accomplished this week, I'm very, very pleased. And more importantly, so is my wife! We'll finish the rest of the project during evenings and weekends.


My home, my castle: Living room renovation - Day 7

After too many 16-20 hour work days, my back is killing me (in addition to my hands, wrist, and forearms) so I'm chewing ibuprofin like it's candy. I wonder if Jesus felt like this when he arose on the third day? Call me a heathen, but I always skip church on Easter to make room for visitors. Andy gets me the other 50 weeks out of the year (North Point is closed one Sunday around Christmas/New Year).

Fortunately the living room is moving closer to livable. I grew up knowing this term. For those who haven't been exposed to my family's quirks, you probably won't find our definition of "livable" in Merriam-Webster... by livable I mean, "it's going to look like we're living in squalor, but there is a plan and we're working on it."

So the flooring will get done... just not by Sunday night. The ceiling and walls will get painted... just not by Sunday night. The walls will also get textured... just probably not by Sunday night. The drywall work (repair, patching, corner bead, and sanding) should be finished by the time my wife and girls return home.

So here is the niche I've been working on. And yes, the hallway light is going away in lieu of a recessed light fixture.


My home, my castle: Living room renovation - Day 6

Things always take longer than expected, so while I accomplished a lot yesterday and stayed up until 3:00am, I'm not going to get the bamboo floors down by the time my wife and girls return from a long week to Texas. I worked out some technical snafus with the niche that involved taking up some room in the closet, but the problem is solved & the lighting is wired.

The hallway from the living room to the kitchen now lacks the two narrow doorway openings at either end.


My home, my castle: Living room renovation - Day 5

I hate plumbing. Usually it has something to do with Home Depot and leaks, and while it didn't involve a leak this time, it did involve the Orange Monopoly. Despite the fact that Home Depot owns Apex Supply (now called Home Depot Supply), one of the largest plumbing supply companies in the southeast, Home Depot's retail stock of plumbing supplies is in desperate need of better inventory control management. Their stores always seem to be out of a "must-have" part, as was the case today. Fortunately Home Depot has almost as many retail locations in Atlanta as McDonald's, so there's always another store 5 miles away.

I capped off the hot and cold water lines running to the former wet bar, but the sanitary T proved to be a pain in the ass. Though the side outlets were threaded, whomever plumbed this house decided to use an epoxy to seal the threaded PVC connections. This left me no choice but to replace it, which prompted my trip(s) to Home Depot.

Five hours later, it was finished.

I then did a lot of electrical work and also ran speaker wiring for the surround sound. I'm almost finished with a niche I'm building, and those pics will be up tomorrow.

Today's plumbing snafu put me a day behind schedule, but I can make it up if I'm able to put the bamboo flooring down in a day (hey, anything is possible)!


My home, my castle: Living room renovation - Day 4

Today I'll show two of my bloopers... the first is the hole in the subfloor created when several hundred pounds of bricks from the fireplace came tumbling off the wall, only inches from the gas line running to the fireplace.

The second blooper is when I removed the 2x4 at the top of the header from what was the wet bar, only to find that the builder nailed a 2x8 on top of it so that the ceiling would have something to attach to. Needless to say, the ceiling over the wet bar came falling down as well.

Four hours of the day were spent between Lowe's and Home Depot getting drywall, cement backer board, drywall mud, recessed lights, insulation to go around a noisy drain pipe, faceplates with RCA jacks for the surround sound being installed, and a few other things. I've got more drywall work to do tomorrow and will update with more pictures. So far I'm on schedule, though tomorrow is critical.

I have 4 days to complete the following: finish the drywall work, texture the walls, paint the molding & doors, paint the ceiling, paint the walls, install the bamboo flooring, install molding, and rehang doors.


My home, my castle: Living room renovation - Day 3

Today was more of the same: widening of passageways (i.e., tearing down drywall removal and removing 2x4s, hoping they're not loadbearing!) along with the diversions of a trip to Home Depot as well as a hail storm.


My home, my castle: Living room renovation - Day 2

90% of the brick & mortar is out of the living room & drywall was removed in preparation for widening the passageway into the hallway as well as eliminating the former wet bar seen on the left.


My home, my castle: Living room renovation - Day 1

The brick fireplace is no more, and thus the goal of today was accomplished.