Speaking of Feeling the Spring

Ironic that I was talking about the closeness of spring just on Friday because Saturday actually felt a little spring-like. Not in the sense that it was warm, oh no. It was freakin freezin.' But, be that as it may, Mike and I decided to do yard work.

Burn season started Jan 15th - and I don't know about you guys, but around our house, we always have stuff to burn. Fallen branches, fallen trees, dead stuff - it tends to really collect given the crappiness of our nearly 1.5 acres. So first thing saturday morning, we went down and got our burn season permit, went home, and started burning.

As you remember, we turned our old oil tank into a burning device. So for most of the day, we just hung out at the picnic table throwing stuff in. I gathered sticks and branches from the front yard in the wheelbarrow while Mike cut up larger branches and trees with the chainsaw. As long as we kept moving or were close enough to the fire, we kept pretty warm.

In our town, the fire has to be out by 4pm - so in the late afternoon, as the fire died down, we took on some more long overdue exterior maintenance. Namely: the trans am. Or, more specifically, MY trans am.

Here's a pic from last spring, when my poor car was evicted from the garage. So - for nearly a year it's been outside and exposed to the elements. (It has been covered, but still.) Late afternoon on Saturday, we put it back in the garage. It does not run yet, so we use our lawn tractor to pull it. (Mike made a bracket for the back of the tractor and put two cinder blocks there to weight down the back, so it can actually pull and push a good amount.)

With the car in the garage, we had to rearrange the motorcycles - we have 4 of them. Plus two quads. (One of those belongs to a friend, at least.) One bike had to go in the basement. (Oh my god, they're starting to take over the house - ahhhh!)

Believe it or not after all that, we still had some daylight left to burn, so I swept the driveway and then raked the entire side yard.

After that I really wanted to start moving the electricals in the mudroom - but by then it was dark and Mike conveniently pointed out, "How are we going to see what we're doing when the power's off?" I could have pressed the issue and held a flashlight for the next couple hours, but I knew it would be aggravating for him. Darn it.

So we were highly productive - but still didn't get any work that I really wanted done, done. Next weekend, perhaps? Oh, and then a boat load of snow came down on Sunday.

What T'do Now....

Realization - it's Friday. And believe it or not, I haven't been thinking about the weekend all week. It's still status quo around the house and we're pretty much in the same boat as last weekend.

Does anyone else get the winter blahs like this? I mean, I'm not motivated to do anything. But I know that if I don't get my butt in gear, I'm going to be kicking myself when spring comes around.

The past two winters have really been killers in that respect. I say every fall, "I'm going to get such and such and such and such done this winter." And then by spring, only a fraction of that is accomplished.

We're already just a week away from February - and that's almost March and that's almost Spring! Time is weird. I just can't deal with it. Plus, work-work is going to be crazy in Feb... damn that day job.

Prepare to Look Away, It's Not Pretty

I arrived home yesterday evening, looking forward to a relaxing night after a dull dull MLK day at work. It's the usual - I pull myself through the door, block the cats who are meowing and flopping right in my way, put my junk on the coat rack, and head for a hot hot shower.

But the minute I turn on the bathroom light - AHHHHHHHHHH.

No, it's not some knife wielding maniac or overwhelming mildew. It's that stupid green toilet again. And it's leaking all over the freakin place. Again. It's so disgusting, I'm ashamed to show you this picture:

No that's not poo water - it's just clean water mixed with a whole lotta dirt. It's pretty much impossible to clean back there. And yes, that floor is actually rippled from all the water damage. In fact, I just know the day will come when I'll sit down on the toilet and fall right through to the basement.

Those who know this blog know that I have written about my hatred of this bathroom and particularly of this toilet time and time again. And believe me, I'm as sick of writing about it as you are of reading about it.

And if I'm sick of writing about it, you know I'm sick of dealing with it. So I just stuck a bowl under the leak and tried to ignore it. Kamikaze the cat, however, was highly intrigued.

Mike eventually got home and fixed it - again. The basic problem is that this toilet is old... duh, right? Well, the tank is actually waaay smaller than a new toilet tank. So the replacement parts we got for it at one point do not actually fit correctly. The drain, especially. So when the water level gets too high, it doesn't drain out, it leaks out the handle. Our solution for now was to take tin snips and cut the drain pipe thingy so water at a lower level can drain out correctly.

Why not get a new toilet? As I have explained before - this whole bathroom will eventually be demolished and two new ones (stacked on top of one another) will be built in its place. Why buy and install a new toilet just to have to take it out again? But the whole thing is an expensive proposition and I'm not ready to take the plunge. (hee hee, bathroom humor.)

Needing to get Nailed

Would you believe I have not had the pleasure of entering or exiting through the new doors yet? Pathetic - it's been nearly a week and we still haven't shimmed, caulked, and nailed them yet! (Sounds kinky!) But I have to admit, with bday parties, dinner parties, exhaustion, and snow days - it's been a bit of a crazy week.

On Monday during that freak storm, we were getting some leaking at the bottom of the door too, so it has been on my mind.

And this weekend's going to be a wash. Tomorrow we have to haul scrap metal and then take our skid steer down to Mike's parent's house for some work they need done. I imagine that will take up the whole day - and I may hang back. I'm not sure. I'm undecided.

Not that it matters much. I have no money to move forward on anything, so I guess I should be happy that I can spend the time relaxing. And if there's any extra time, we can definitely shim, caulk, and nail the door. And if there's any extra extra time, we can move the switches, exterior light, and doorbell to their new home next to the new doors.

Now that I think about it, since we're messing around with the wiring of the exterior lights anyway, wouldn't it be a perfect time to put in that street lamp?! Oh my god, I can't believe I just thought of that. Damn me, now I want to put it in.

Oh - and I almost forgot about the most exciting little tidbit of good news. ANDERSON windows. FREE. Big double windows from what I'm told. They come courtesy of our good friend Hal, the oil man. (Hourihan Oil - look 'em up if you're in the Cape Cod area) He recently built his own house and I'd imagine that they're probably just leftovers. I'll be totally pschyed if they fit in the mudroom where that 'ol stinky door is currently. But again, there may be no time to pick those up this weekend. I don't even know all the details, since I fell asleep on Mike at 8:30 last night. That's how pooped I was. But I'll find out...

Update to the Pics

As you can tell by the pics posted yesterday - we finished! Well... we got the door in there and secure. We still have to put in some more screws and shims and caulk, and then the whole thing needs to be painted inside and out.

I have to admit, I'm soo totally happy with out it came out. The room looks so much bigger, grander in fact. All of a sudden it's fancy, despite lack of flooring and drywall.

Speaking of which, that's the next task. The drywall. Actually, I lied. First we have to take out the old door and the one remaining old window and replace them with new windows. And, we have to move the light switches, exterior light, and doorbell next to the new door. That'll be a little bit of a pain in the butt, but oh well.

The StDoory

Drive thru now open.

Everything's framed up, cut out, and ready to go.

Let 'er go!

Our little hole in the wall...

Job well done! AOK

Now if we could just get that farmer's porch out there...


Huston, the door has landed!

With a heave and a ho and - Oh my GOD that thing was heavy.

Ok, lets back the truck up. Mike and I had to get the door last night instead of tonight - if you're local and you're looking out the window, you know why. It's going to be pouring rain and windy all today and tonight. (But Saturday installation day looks good, so we're still a go there.)

First off, we got into an argument on the way there about which exit on which highway the stupid Lowes was off of. But we managed to arrive and shook it off.

An actually very helpful store dude helped us get the door.

When purchasing a big ticket item such as this from a major home improvement mega-mart, you MUST check it before you buy it. Look it over - does it have any dings, scratches, or dents? Is the hardware package and instructions missing? Look at the glass - any hairline cracks? Play with the functionality - in this case, pull the blinds up and down, tilt them. Do they work? Are they in good shape?

If you find this process to be a pain in the ass, just ask yourself - do you want to have to go home, or worse, install the item - only to find out there's a problem and have to uninstall it, take it back, or try and fix it yourself? TRUST ME - I've been there. No fun.

I did have a point to all that, besides setting you all straight on the protocol of the HIMM (home improvement mega mart.) The first door we pulled out looked good, but then when we tested the blinds, we discovered that the left side door blind control was broken.

This makes me nervous that these doors are what we refer to in the industry as "el cheapo." But, here's the kicker to purchasing "el cheapo." Look for a warranty. Most mass produced big ticket items will have 'em now adays. And this one too - 20 years on the blinds. Just keep all your receipts and register your product and if it breaks, call and cause a big stink and they usually take care of you.

My friend Dawn and I thought we should start a company, Bitch Inc, where we call on behalf of our clients cause we're such professionals in causing a big stink with "the man." hee hee!

Back to the Stdoory (the door story):
We had our door all picked out and had a nice store dude helping. Which was great, because it turns out that a steel set of 6' french doors is DAMN heavy! Mike estimated that it weighed about 400lbs.

We also picked out a screen - just $88 more! And that's when the store dude asked if we needed knobs. I looked at Mike - I completely forgot about knobs. So we navigated the door down to the knob aisle and picked out a locking rod knob... that just sounds odd, doesn't it? Sounds like some crazy heavy metal band. And we also got a deadbolt in the same style. Of course, the stupid knobs don't come cheap. The deadbolt was 23 and the other was 40-something. Ridiculous.

So when all was said and done at the register, it came to $900. That was about $100 more than I had figured on, but I hadn't figured on knobs and tax - whatever. It was worth it.

The store dude helped us load it on the truck - not an easy task, and I began to worry about what was going to happen at home with just Mike and me having to get this thing down and off and in the garage. I began to understand why Lowes charged about as much for the installation of the door as for the door itself. This was not going to be easy. Poor Mike. Another impossible task that I set for him...

Now, let me give you all another piece of advice if you think you can just go and get a 6' steel set of french doors too. We own a diesel dually dodge pickup - biggest freakin truck evah. And the doors still hung an uncomfortably big distance off the side of the bed. Any smaller pickup, and the doors would have just flipped over the side of the bed. SO - Beware! Honestly, a van would probably be the way to go for picking up a pair of these bad boys. Not to mention that laying the doors down in the bed actually dug into the trim around the glass a little bit.... at least that can be taken care of with a little putty and paint. No biggie, but just another warning for ya.

So - we take it easy all the way home. Upon arrival we had a little bit of a strategy going on. We backed the truck up to a hill, so we could just stand the door up and walk right out with it. Problem was, there was a long way to go to the garage from there.

We managed to get the door out of the bed all on our own. But here, I became the weakest link. I could only lift it for a step or two before having to put it down and rest for a couple minutes. Though the door had handles on either side, it was top heavy and you had to keep a hand near the top at all times to keep the thing from going over! I was so nervous and kept imagining it falling and breaking.

Mike had the idea to get our little lawn tractor trailer - a small metal box on wheels that you can hook up to your tractor and carry stuff like logs or whatever. He took off the little tailgate and we slid it under one side of the doors. Then, with Mike holding the other end, and me steadying it and guiding the trailer, we slowly made it to the garage. JUST BARELY. The thing nearly went over a million times, I nearly lost it, Mike nearly lost it, I nearly tripped and just barely escaped being run over and crushed....

It was painful and stressful - and to think, we haven't even begun the installation process yet.

Tomorrow we have to pick up wood and some other materials at the DeepHo. And early Saturday morning - if any of you are free - you're welcome to come and help because this is not going to be fun. If we make it to Sunday without injuring ourselves or busting the doors - it will be a freakin miracle.

Inching forward at LUDICRIS speed...

Well, as I predicted, no french doors yet. But! Before you all navigate away from the page - let me just say that I'm ok with it. Because - we got everything ready for the doors.

Let me show you the before picture. Here is the mud room soon to be dining room:

Excuse the mess. But you can see here, this double window is where the door will go - and the current door, there on the left, will be boarded up and walled in. And here's what we accomplished yesterday:

Basically we took out all the drywall and removed some of the insulation. There was an electrical outlet under the window, which we had to move over to the left. The next step is to purchase and install the door. And at that point, we need to relocate our exterior light, doorbell, and light switches to the left of the new door.

I was bummed that we had to remove so much drywall - but it was the only way to get to all the electrical wires.

Next weekend, for sure, we are purchasing and installing the door - come what may! Because without insulation under the windows, it's freakin cold.

Can You Believe It's Nearly Fri?

TGINF! I have been out on another planet all week - barely surviving the toxic atmosphere, threat of alien attacks, and free floating space chunkies about to puncture my space helmet!

Saturday, I'm looking forward to going to the dump and then possibly picking up a garage door from my neighbor. He's selling the door plus all the hardware and tracks for just $200. A 10' door. And even though I probably shouldn't be spending anything, I just can't pass that up. Our current door is a little.... well.... let me just say this. I think it was Overhead Door's first model. The model T of garage doors.

I still don't think I'm going to be able to get the french doors. Depressing as that is. I just don't think Mike will be able to install them without assistance, and I doubt that's going to happen on such short notice, and I haven't even gotten an estimate yet, so who knows if I can afford our carpenter friend anyway.

It's another kink in the line.

Plus, we still have to finish our permit app for the farmer's porch. I tried to take it in on Monday, but we were missing some critical info. What a pain in the butt. And Mike hasn't had time to fill in the blanks.

So we'll see what happens. I'm not very optimistic at this point.