November 21, 2015

From Open Concept to Some Privacy

For ages, the bathroom has been open concept and was looking like this:

  Open concept bathroom with shower

With no contractor I could trust, or that was of a reasonable cost, I finally broke down and decided to do the job in stages and hire the trades as needed. The decision was fortuitous as I have encountered unexpected large bills the last 2 months, so now I can draw out this project as I have the funds to complete it. So, this was the week I chose to take a couple of days vacation so that the following could  happen:

  • Tear out the shower and cap off the plumbing below floor level
  • Tear out the framing of the wall the bathroom shares with the hallway
  • Frame in a new wall with a pocket door and with the door moved from the corner closest to the bedroom to more central in the wall. additionally, a wall need be built for the "free" end of the tub (next to the toilet).
  • At the same time as the wall removal/reframe, disconnect electricals (hall light switch, air conditioner thermostat, bathroom light and fan switches).
  • once the wall was reframed, install electricals in compatible locations.
  • Install bathtub and surround where the former shower was and run new plumbing.

Wednesday evening the plumber showed up and did his thing. Once he was done, I tore out the sheetrock that was behind the shower and pried up the linoleum tiles that would be in the path of new framing. The next morning I uhhooked the plumbing to the vanity and slid it into the craft room to get it out of the way.

Thursday morning the electrician showed up and the carpenter wasn't far behind. After they consulted each other, the electrician disconnected hook ups but the wires had to stay in place (very restricted access thru the attic), so the breakers were kept off while the carpenter tore out the old wall. The delivery of sheetrock and lumber arrived about 10 so I had plenty of willing hands to help unload it (not much - 10 sheets water resistant sheet rock, 2 sheets of regular sheet rock, 8-2x4's and a sheet of plywood). Since I was paying the electrician for the whole day, I had him replace the hall and office lights with ceiling mount lights also. Once the carpenter was to the point he needed the electrician to help line up the wires, and then everything was hooked up in its new place. By the time the both of them left, it looked like this.

Open concept with new wall

And since the electrician had a lot of down time that I was paying for, I asked him to help me hang sheet rock in the basement work room (before pictures from September):

Workout room wall opened
Workout room wall opened
Workout room wall opened
Workout room wall opened

 Friday was a carpenter only day; he built in the pocket door and framed the third wall for the bathtub (and got the tub set up so it was level). In the process, we decided to go ahead and sheet rock the ceiling over the tub prior to building the third wall - it made for easier sheet rocking and worked out great using one 4x8 piece of rock, only needing a cutout for the fan. He also got the hallway side of the wall sheet rocked, so it was no longer open concept:

Bath wall roughed in
Bath wall roughed in
Bath wall roughed in

Note there is no hanging light in the hallway. A good thing as it would have been a pinata while he was getting the sheet rock set!

This morning the plumber came in, got the plumbing situated, installed the surround and installed the hardware. He also ran a new drain line for the vanity as the old one was a mickey mouse job.

Bath-shower installed

Monday the carpenter will return to install the sheet rock on the inside of the bathroom wall so he can install the trim for the door. He'll also sheet rock above the surround and then do a coat of tape/mud (I will do the rest). That will be it for a while as I probably won't put in the vanity and linoleum until next spring. I want to wait until the rest of the ceiling is sheet rocked, then the rest of the walls can be sheet rocked and all can be painted prior to installing the other new stuff.

Oh, and Home Dep*t delivered the replacement vanity on Friday as well as taking the damaged one away. So it now resides in the basement. Funny thing is that the finish on it is much better than any of the original pieces, so I may not do any extra polyurethane on it (or may, who knows what whims will posses me?)

I think it will be great taking a shower in the morning - haven't had one since Wednesday and washcloths can only do so much :)

Posted by Bogie on November 21, 2015 at 04:37 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

November 15, 2015

Sad Day

This morning I took the bike in for winter storage. Left the house at 34 degrees and it wasn't much, if any, warmer when I got there before they opened at 10.

Bike waiting for Heritage to open
Bike waiting for Heritage to open

Looking forward to next March or April when it is warm enough for me to pick it back up!

Posted by Bogie on November 15, 2015 at 04:10 PM in Motorcycles | Permalink | Comments (1)

November 13, 2015

What is Old is New

Over the last several weeks, the Jeep has not been doing so well. I believed it to be a transmission issue so I asked my local mechanic to check into getting a re-manufactured tranny for it. Seems that it is super special and there are none to be found (combination between it being fairly new - 2010, manual instead of automatic, and a 4WD instead of AWD). In fact, one of the mechanic's distributors said that he had been searching for the exact same tranny, for someone else, for 2 months.

On 11/3, as I was driving it to the mechanic for him to check out, it got way worse. After he took it for a test drive, he told me he wouldn't even try to drive it home if he were me.

So, I drove to the local Ford dealer and started looking at the used vehicles they had. I ended up test driving a 2004 Explorer that had just been traded in with 130,000 miles. Not having time to search other venues (and not having other venues within walking distance to check out), I decided that the price was something I could live with. We agreed upon a price, with the stipulation that they would do all work needed to pass inspection (I already knew that the steering rack needed replaced), and  they set up the work order.

I rode my bike to work the rest of the week, used it to get groceries over the weekend, and rode to work on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Those last two days were a chilly 24 and 26 degrees in the morning - which was a fine time to find out my heated gear controller no longer worked (hadn't used it but a couple of times since I got it last year). Oh well, I didn't freeze to death so I can't complain too much.

Tuesday night the Explorer was ready for me to pick up so I walked part way to meet up with the salesman, who drove me the rest of the way to the dealership.

2004 Ford Explorer-sm

It rained the rest of this week (or most of it), so I was glad to have the truck. Tomorrow I should actually see what it looks like in daylight - I've only seen it in the dark of morning or evening.

I'll have my mechanic continue looking for a tranny for the Jeep. It would be nice to get it fixed since it gets twice the gas mileage as the Explorer and is more suitable for everyday driving. However, the Explorer will be good for hauling a trailer, should I ever get one, and can haul a bunch more pellets both volume and weight wise even without a trailer, so will be handy to have regardless if I can ever get the Jeep fixed.

Posted by Bogie on November 13, 2015 at 06:45 PM in Cursed, Life in General, Vehicles | Permalink | Comments (7)

October 24, 2015

Chestnuts - Not Roasting Though

A squirrel left these on the outdoor furniture table. Apparently he got his fill and left them. Have no idea where they came from, but certainly not from any of the yards around mine, so he hauled them for a bit of a distance before feasting.

Chestnuts 1
Chestnuts 1

Yes, they are very prickly, so that was one tough squirrel. Took me a bit of sleuthing to find out that they are Chinese Chestnuts (most likely - could be American, but very doubtful)

Posted by Bogie on October 24, 2015 at 05:49 PM in Wild Animals | Permalink | Comments (2)

Last Rose of the Season

Queen Elizabeth gave me the last rose for this year. I picked it on 10/16/15 so I could enjoy it for a while. It lasted for a week in a vase.

Last Rose 10-16 Queen Elizabeth

Posted by Bogie on October 24, 2015 at 05:43 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 03, 2015

Extreme Exercise

Last Sunday was the perfect day for getting pellets into the house. My plan was to move 2 tons, then move the other 2 tons thru the week. I had to clean out the corner in the basement that I store pellets since I've been using it for storage while ripping apart other areas of the house. That would only give me room for a little over a ton (I already had a little over a ton there as leftover from last year) but with the cabinets for the bathroom in the house, I could start loading up the back wall of the garage with pellets.

Me and my trusty 4-wheeler (okay, it isn't motorized but it does have 4 wheels) started the project at 12:55 pm (first pic is at the very start of the project) got thru the first ton in about 45 minutes. Load 5 bags in the cart, move the cart to the door between the basement and garage, carry each bag about 40 feet (of course the storage is at the furthest corner from the garage) and place in a stack.

Pellet move start 1255pm
Pellet move start 1255pm

Then the second ton - the first 3 rows went into the basement and the rest went into the garage which much easier as I didn't have to carry them, just stack.

Second ton gone

I decided I had enough daylight and energy to get the other two tons in so I now have a bit over 5 tons readily available for use.

Basement full
Basement full
Basement full

I was done with pellet moving at 4:40 pm - not bad if I do say so myself.

Posted by Bogie on October 3, 2015 at 08:38 AM in At Home | Permalink | Comments (3)


Saturday I started dragging the future bathroom cabinets into the house. There were two reasons for this; I need room in the garage to store pellets and I had already discovered that the cabinets were not polyurethaned to my satisfaction. So I moved the smaller cabinets into the basement and gave them another layer of poyl so they can stand up to a moist bathroom environment better.

Linen bottom and hutch ready for poly
Linen bottom and hutch ready for poly

When I decided to go ahead and bring in the big piece, the 36" vanity, I moved the smaller pieces to the craft room and finished them with a second coat of poly there. But, when I removed the vanity from the packaging, this is what I found.

Cabinet Crack Outside
Cabinet Crack Outside

The carton was not damaged so I believe that this happened at the manufacturer. Monday I called HD and they reordered the vanity. The original pieces took 5-6 weeks. I got a message Thursday that the replacement should only take 2 more weeks - so there is that. They will pick up the cracked piece when they deliver the new piece.

I guess it could be worse, I could actually have a contractor interested in doing my bathroom project and have it on their schedule.

Posted by Bogie on October 3, 2015 at 08:24 AM in Cursed, House Work | Permalink | Comments (4)

September 26, 2015

The Baby Harman Lives

Since selling the St. Croix Hastings last month, I have had the Harman P43 sitting in its place, but I didn't have the exhaust vent set up. With cold mornings forecast, I decided it was time to rectify the situation.

P43 Set up
P43 Set up
P43 Set up

The Hastings was a true corner install but I didn't like that the hot air was directly aimed at a dead corner in the living room. I had to use a tower fan and doorway corner fan at the hallway entrance to move the warm air to the bedrooms and bathroom. The P43 is not as wide as the Hastings was, so I decided to set it up so that the blower aims the air straight down the hallway.

I've done a couple of test runs and so far am pleased with how the air moves without any additional fans. Time will tell if it works as well once the cold really hits. The stove is closer to the wall than clearances allow (the side of the stove gets really hot and clearance is 16" to combustibles, while the stove is at 13" to the wall. However, I just have to get some side shields to make it safe. I ordered those shields last week and will pick them up today.

Meanwhile, I've had the P61a (basement stove) going at night as we have been getting down in the 30's and the house had only been at 66-67 when I get home in the afternoon. Had to move a whole bunch of stuff as I've used that area for storage, but that was a minor inconvenience. Once I get the side shields on the P43, I can let the P61a rest for a while. Hopefully by that time I will have things squared away where I don't need a storage area for some of my stuff.

Posted by Bogie on September 26, 2015 at 07:43 AM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

Another Hallway Option - Opinions Please

I finally got the rest of the "header" (actually just sheetrock support) down from the hallway entrance. Now I am unsure what I want to do. Although I liked the ladder look:

Hall door header without support

I also like the way the following makes the hallway entrance look even bigger than the ladder does.

Hallway header removed

That little stub could be sheet rocked the way it is (probably add one more cross member to even it up. I will change out that hanging light for a flush mount. The plastic over the air return for the air conditioner will also eventually go away (although the grate will stay there).

What look does the peanut gallery like?

Posted by Bogie on September 26, 2015 at 07:16 AM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

Dark Corner Brightened Up

When I last left you, the dirt pile that I had accumulated from all the garden planting had been reduced by some nice young men. Last weekend I consolidated what was left, and moved the pile so that I could get some root bound hollies planted. I was amazed that I still have about a truckload left, but this is true fill with a lot of tree roots, so will be hard to get rid of. But that is not the point of this post.

Remaining dirt pile

Once I got the consolidation complete, I installed hollies in the back section. Since that area had been covered up most of the season I didn't have to remove any sod - just removed a bit of soil to make the area a bit more even. The hollies, from left to right: Blue Princess and Blue Prince hollies, then two sets of China Couple hollies

Back row of hollies in

I planted the front row, then took a break to run down to the local Agway for mulch. Of course I found some bulbs to plant:

Bulbs planted

And, the final product. The front row of very small plants (they will grow to 2-4' eventually) contains two rose Cletras,  two Cardinal Viburnum, and a Blue Princess holly. Hyacinths and other bulbs planted between

Finished - front view
Finished - front view

The corner these are planted in is fairly dark as it is shaded by trees most of the day. The red berries on the hollies should help brighten it up a bit. The hollies are evergreen and should grow tall enough to hide some of the buildings behind during the winter.

By far the easiest and fastest garden project this season.

Oh, and by the way, somehow I still have a bunch more plants still in pots (plus the 3 poor roses that are in large planters. Why yes, I did find a great sale online - LOL

Plants in pots - left to plant-closer

In that shot (in no particular order) are Snowmound Spiraea, Indian Summer Rudbekia, Chadwickii Pyracantha, Rose Creek Abelia, Rumba Weigela, Dark Horse Weigela, Coppertina and Centerglow Ninebarks.

Posted by Bogie on September 26, 2015 at 07:06 AM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (0)