Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Floors! A start, anyway. And one big cost just doubled. Sales and shares needed.

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.
That up there is what you see as you round the turn in the stairs. It's amazing; so beautiful, I can hardly believe it. And it looks like we did well in choosing the color, in terms of matching the woodwork.

If it was a zoo yesterday with five people (plus us), I don't know what you'd call it today, with eight. And they were pretty much all at work upstairs, but they managed to work with and around each other very, very well. Of course, it was setbacks for days, but still forward movement. 

First, the floors again; this is our bedroom:

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

They're going straight across, from east to west, to get the most out of the planks. Reynaldo spent much of the day manning the big table saw outside on the deck, handing planks back and forth for resizing. Initially, they had some problems getting the click-and-lock thing to click or to lock, either one, but they eventually got it rocking.

In the meantime, Randy was back to grout the baseboards in our bathroom upstairs:

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

It's beautiful work, and he's quick. Unfortunately, he couldn't get started on the downstairs bathroom yet because of plumbing issues. First and foremost, as I said last night, the tub drain from upstairs had to be hooked up and the pipes and hoses fed downstairs to the shower in the small bath before they can put in the insulation and Hardeebacker and close up the ceiling and the upper walls. 

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

Of course, there was one fitting that came with the tub that was a non-standard size; should've been 3/8", and was . . . something else. Ismael didn't have one in stock, so he went to a different plumber's supply, and they didn't have it either, which initially brought everything to a standstill. He took off to check another supplier, with a warning that if he had to special-order it, we'd be waiting 24-48 hours. Fortunately, they had it, so the guys came back and went to work. That up there is the best I've got to illustrate it, which doesn't show the fitting in question, as far as I can tell, but does show the space we're dealing with. They did, however, also hook up the fittings in our shower, so I could get a shot of that at least:

Photo copyright Aji, 2017;
all rights reserved.

It's kind of bizarre, I suppose, but for some reason, this view right here makes us both unbelievably happy. Part of it is that it's just beautiful, but part of it stems from what we've been dealing with with regard to the so-called "shower" in this tin can for the last seven years. Truly, it's been abominable, and completely unfixable, and to have space just to turn around in is an unbelievable gift.

The other bad news is that before Randy can close off the ceiling in the downstairs bath, Ismael needs to be able to make sure that the water is running through the lines properly and that there are no leaks. Essentially, we need to hook up everything that's currently hook-upable, which excludes the upstairs sink, downstairs everything, and the kitchen. But the upstairs toilet and the water heater need to be done, and so we had to make a decision on the water heater. By the time we factored in the cost of all the extras (valves, vents, etc.), and the warranty, and the labor, we weren't really saving a whole lot by going to Home Depot or Lowe's as opposed to getting it through Ismael's firm. It still might have been enough to flip it, but there's the pesky warranty thing, and knowing how hard it is to get a repair tech up here if something goes wrong, especially when it's below zero with three feet of snow on the ground. By the time we factored in extra costs, we were way above where we thought we'd be already, so we made the decision to pay a little extra yet and go with the guy we know, the guy who's immediately responsive, uses top-quality materials and fixtures, warrants all his work, and fixes problems for free. 

So our cost has doubled, and that's a huge hit for us, but it will pay for itself in the long run just in preventing future maintenance costs. But it also means that what I thought I'd be able to put toward, say, tile work or cabinetry is no longer available. This means that the pressure is now on me even more to make sales to make up the differential. It also means that the Home Depot and Lowe's gift cards become ever more crucial, given what we still have to buy to make the place livable. So here are the links:
  • Wings's site, for sales;
  • Lowe's cards (the physical version) via our Amazon wishlist;
  • Lowe's e-cards (delivered via e-mail) here; and
  • Home Depot cards via the company site. The e-version using my e-mail address is great; I take the tablet to the store with me, and they scan it off the screen.
Please share them all, as much as possible. One large sale would go a long way toward making up the difference (we coughed up ~half down today, with just over half to pay when the water heater's installed). For now, another storm is coming, hard and fast, and I have to go shut the chickens in the main coop and then get back to work. Many thanks and much love to all.



All content, including photos and text, are copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owner.
  

Red Willow Spirit: Gathering Season

Photo copyright Wings, 2017; all rights reserved.

Now posted at The NDN Silver Blog, it's this week's edition of Red Willow Spirit, with a few of the beings who join us at this time of year. It's the gathering season, not only for people but for spirits of air and sky, and they have come together this year in the shadow of a midwife moon and the light of a newborn sun.

The post is here. Wings's main page is here. It's all images again this week, and as always, Wings's photos are available for purchase in any of the three usual formats; simply inquire via the site's Contact form. Also as always, sales are very much needed (especially now, having just paid half down on the water heater, parts, and labor), so shares of the site links are much appreciated.



All content, including photos and text, are copyright Wings and Aji, 2017; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owner.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Doors and walls and mouldings and dimensions and baseboards and a host of visiting spirits. And expense. Shares needed.

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

Yup. We had five people working here today. It was a zoo, but a kind of wonderful one. I'm talking about the work, not even the eclipse and the gathering of spirits that accompanied it. With regard to the latter, we had the spirits of sun, moon, eclipse, an incredible otherworldly light on the ground and shadow above with a 10- to 15-degree drop in temperature and a change in the air pressure that defies description . Later, we had the spirits of lightning, storm, rain, and rainbow. We also were visited by a flicker (heard only; not seen); a pair of hummingbirds; a Northern harrier; the entire Bluebird Clan; one of whom reversed course and circled around to sit in front of me, look me directly in the eye, and deliver a very conversational message; and my girl, the red-tailed hawk, here about three months early and still wearing her summer white more than winter red.

We also had Tony, Reynaldo, Sherm, Sherm's brother Marcos, and Randy, who works for Floyd, the tile guy. They accomplished a ton of work today.

The big thing they had on top was what you see above, even if you can't tell exactly what it is: mopping upstairs preparatory to laying the flooring. That's about the cleanest that subfloor has ever been. The whole upstairs smells like wet wood, but in the fresh wet outdoorsy kind of way, not the icky mildewy way.

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

Sherm and Marcos started off with a favor for me, because I needed to get dimensions to the kitchen person at Home Depot, and even though Wings and I measured it all over the weekend, I wanted numbers from the pros. We weren't too far off, but I'm going with their numbers. I know you can't see it very well in the photos, but they drew it all out directly on the floor, and I've e-mailed all the numbers (and there were a lot of them, a lot more than we expected) to the salesperson, and now we wait to see how horrible the damage is going to be.

Photo copyright Aji, 2017;
all rights reserved.

Aside from the mopping (which actually got done toward the end of the day), Tony and Reynaldo got more woodwork done, with some help from the other two. First was the finish work and the staining on one of the hand-made small doors (I'm not sure whether this is coat closet or pantry). The other has to be redone, because the tongue-and-groove panels warped, so Tony's picking up another one tomorrow to cut into the proper sizes. The other thing they got done, which I didn't even notice at first until Wings pointed it out to me was this:

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

See that?  I'm so excited; they finally were able to get the moulding up in the stairwell and the long wall that extends from it to the front of the house (the wall that adjoins our bedroom). And you can see, up close, the line I got yesterday on the edging. Turns out it's quite literally impossible to get a straight line on this broquette-textured drywall. That's because the little globs of plaster that form the texture are all over the place, including in the crease of the corner. Given those constraints, I think I got 'em pretty damn straight. Speaking of the wall, Wings liked it when we first went in this morning, so no extra coat needed. Topped out at nine. Here's a sorta close-up of the finish:

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

It's relatively subtle, which was what I wanted. When the rest of the woodwork and the light fixture get in there, it should look pretty awesome.

The fifth guy, Randy, was here today to do this:

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

He set the baseboard (what, around here, the guys call a "kick") all the way around the drywalled areas. H's using the same tile, of course, keeping it at a low-profile three inches so that we can get two baseboards per full tile. Tomorrow, he'll grout it; then he'll be ready to turn his attention, at long last, to the downstairs guest bath. But first, there's this:

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

The shower has to be finished off in about three different ways. First, though, is the tub hook-up upstairs, because its drain feeds into this one, and they can't cover the space up with insulation and Hardeebacker, much less tile, until those hook-ups are done. So Wings called Ismael, and he'll be out tomorrow morning to take care of it (amazing that he could get out here on such short notice, frankly). Reynaldo had to exchange something at the hardware store for us today, so we had him pick up the roll of insulation at the same time, and once the hookups are handled, they'll run that in and then put the Hardeebacker over it, and then Randy can start cleaning all the dust out, RedGuarding it, and then laying the really cool-looking tile. So tomorrow, we'll have at least six guys here, maybe seven.

They're rocking, which is great, but it all means a lot of expense, so we need to make sales, badly. We also need shares; the more of the cards we can accumulate, from folks who are willing to donate credit card points, etc., to them, the less cash that will have to be diverted to creating an actual kitchen. So here are the links:
  • Wings's site, for sales;
  • Lowe's cards (the physical version) via our Amazon wishlist;
  • Lowe's e-cards (delivered via e-mail) here; and
  • Home Depot cards via the company site. The e-version using my e-mail address is great; I take the tablet to the store with me, and they scan it off the screen.
And I'll say it again: Sales are always needed and helpful, because that's our living — both the baseline of the construction and our day-to-day living expenses. But other than that, right now? More than donations, the HD and Lowe's cards are truly the most useful; they free up our cash for things that can't be done any other way. And until we know whether the septic is truly covered or it's going to set us back some more, we need to keep as much cash in reserve as possible. (Of course, there may well come a point where we need cash to finish it all off, but we're not there yet.) Much gratitude to TG and SR and PK, who each sent a different kind of card, and much love to everyone. We are surrounded by storms at the moment and I need to go make sure the chickens have come into the coop from the fenced run before it gets dark, and then I have to get to work on tomorrow's items.



All content, including photos and text, are copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owner.
  

Monday Photo Meditation: A Gathering of Spirits

Photo copyright Wings, 2017; all rights reserved.

Now posted at The NDN Silver Blog, it's a photo meditation for the eclipse, and for the death and rebirth that accompany it. It's a gathering of spirits of air and sky, at least one with a message of renewal, a reminder that this is a time to grow in strength and light.

The post is here. Wings's main page is here. As always, his photos are available for purchase in any of the usual three formats; simply inquire via the site's Contact form. Also as always, sales are very much needed (especially now), so shares of the site links are much appreciated.



All content, including photos and text, are copyright Wings and Aji, 2017; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owner.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stairwell wall done (I hope). 5-man crew tomorrow, so much more expense in the offing. Shares needed.

Photo copyright Aji, 2017;
all rights reserved.

So tired.

Today is a difficult day, especially for Wings; the last of his four brothers walked on a year ago this morning. There's a candle burning.

Here, the painting is done. This was the longest, hardest part of the whole operation, and I did it flying solo again, because Wings had too many other things he needed to do. To be clear, he offered to take time out to hold the ladder and the paint tray and the water bucket; I told him do what he needed to do, and I'd either manage or let him know if I needed the help. It took me all day, and my joints are screaming at me, but it's done. No more flying off the scaffold ::knocks wood superstitiously::. At least I hope it doesn't wind up needing another coat. We're already at nine and counting.

That's what it looks like up there. This is what a close-up looks like:

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.
Once the stairs are finished — steps replaced, balusters and banisters added, trim work and moulding, wall light installed, stairs sanded and finished and stained and sealed — I think the wall will look amazing. But we'll have to wait to see for sure.

So much more to do. A four-man crew here tomorrow; no, five. So much more expense, so we need to make sales, badly. We also need shares; the more of the cards we can accumulate, from folks who are willing to donate credit card points, etc., to them, the less cash that will have to be diverted to creating an actual kitchen. So here are the links:
  • Wings's site, for sales;
  • Lowe's cards (the physical version) via our Amazon wishlist;
  • Lowe's e-cards (delivered via e-mail) here; and
  • Home Depot cards via the company site. The e-version using my e-mail address is great; I take the tablet to the store with me, and they scan it off the screen.
As I'e been saying, I feel like I need to reiterate at this point: Sales are always needed and helpful, because that's our living — both the baseline of the construction and our day-to-day living expenses. But other than that, right now? More than donations, the HD and Lowe's cards are truly the most useful; they free up our cash for things that can't be done any other way. And until we know whether the septic is truly covered or it's going to set us back some more, we need to keep as much cash in reserve as possible. (Of course, there may well come a point where we need cash to finish it all off, but we're not there yet.) Much gratitude to y'all who've kicked in over the last few days, whether $$ or cards, and love to everyone. I am beat, and I have more work ahead of me tonight, so I need to get on it.



All content, including photos and text, are copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owner.
  

Raining Shadow, Revealing Light

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

Now posted at The NDN Silver Blog, it's a work especially well-suited to this day before the eclipse so completely on the lips of the dominant culture. It's a pair of eponymous earrings that remind us what to seek in occurrences of raining shadow, revealing light.

The post is here. Wings's main page is here. Inquiries via the site's Contact form. And, as always, sales are very much needed (especially now), so shares of the site links are much appreciated.



All content, including photos and text, are copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owner.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

More painting, flying solo today. Some of the tile commencing next week. Shares and sales needed.

Photo copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved.

Welp, so I made more work for myself.

Today was supposed to be edging only, possibly another light coat of the pearlescent white. Unfortunately, once it had dried overnight, it appeared too opaque. I italicized "appeared" because it truly was a matter of appearance v. reality: The paint was indeed very sheer, but the silver on top of the texture, particularly in the light that mostly hits that wall (and in combination with the darkness of the bronze) produced the effect of seeming to gray it out. Up close and in the light, the colors were visible, but barely otherwise, and it turned the pearlescent white into a pale pewterish shade. I wanted the copper to to be primary shade to show through, to pick up the color in the plaster on either side downstairs, but the copper got overwhelmed by the other two.

So. The only solution was to add one, possibly two, more artisan coats. Today was the sponged-on copper; tomorrow will begin with edging and then with sponged-off pearlescent white, and might possibly need another very thin sheer coat of the same thing. We'll see.

On the plus side, I seem suddenly to have gotten over my paralyzing fear of hanging off the ladder that many feet up, because I did the whole thing today without a spotter (i.e., without Wings holding the ladder). He was too busy with a ton of other things that had to be done, so I just went and did it, and he finally realized an hour or so into the process that I hadn't called him to come and help. Bu then I had half the wall sponged, including adjusting the extension ladder downward twice, and I had moved it to the other step to do the other side. Unfortunately, the ladder, fully collapsed, has a tendency to get stuck, and I couldn't unstick it, so I had to fetch him and have him deal with it. I then proceeded to finish up on my own, take the ladder downstairs, and haul the large stepladder to be taken upstairs so I could do touchups in the open area at the head of the stairs. Yes, "to be taken"; by then my hands were fried enough that I had him take it up the stairs as far as the platform, and I hauled it the rest of the way up.

I'm beat.

In other good news, Floyd was out today to see what they can do and when on the tile. They're mired in another big job, and this one is as subcontractors, rather than reporting directly to the homeowner as they're doing with us, so they're stuck until it's done, at the mercy of the contractor's schedule. But he's sending Randy out on Monday to install the baseboards in the upstairs bath and get started on tiling the vanity top (it's got a vessel sink, not a drop-in or undermount). Toward the end of next week, he and Gary will probably have a brief lull, and they're going to finish off the walls and ceiling of the shower in the downstairs bath and tile it all, as well as shower floor and bathroom floor. They might even get as far as the slate tile in the utility room. It'll probably be two weeks after that before they can get to the rest of the downstairs (which is all slate), but that ironically works out well, because Tony and Reynaldo need to get the upstairs flooring in and the stairs done before they can do the living room/dining room areas anyway.

So much more to do. So much more expense, so we need to make sales, badly. We also need shares; the more of the cards we can accumulate, from folks who are willing to donate credit card points, etc., to them, the less cash that will have to be diverted to creating an actual kitchen. So here are the links:
  • Wings's site, for sales;
  • Lowe's cards (the physical version) via our Amazon wishlist;
  • Lowe's e-cards (delivered via e-mail) here; and
  • Home Depot cards via the company site. The e-version using my e-mail address is great; I take the tablet to the store with me, and they scan it off the screen.
As I'e been saying, I feel like I need to reiterate at this point: Sales are always needed and helpful, because that's our living — both the baseline of the construction and our day-to-day living expenses. But other than that, right now? More than donations, the HD and Lowe's cards are truly the most useful; they free up our cash for things that can't be done any other way. And until we know whether the septic is truly covered or it's going to set us back some more, we need to keep as much cash in reserve as possible. (Of course, there may well come a point where we need cash to finish it all off, but we're not there yet.) Much gratitude to y'all who've kicked in over the last few days, whether $$ or cards, and love to everyone. And I guess the answer to last night's final question is "Or not."



All content, including photos and text, are copyright Aji, 2017; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owner.