Thursday, August 21, 2014

Remodel on pause

The current status of the remodeling project is thus:
  • A new backsplash for the vanity top had to be ordered, as the current one is 5/8 of an inch too short, leaving what looks like a gaping hole in the corner where the backsplash meets the sidesplash. I knew there was an issue and the plumber guys had a plan, a work-around that in retrospect I would have been unhappy with. Fortunately, the guy working on the bathroom forgot the plan.
  • The flooring by the front door has yet to be installed. I called the PM about the flooring and was told it had been ordered. How did they know how much to order since no one had been by to measure the area? I asked. She didn't know - magic, I guess. A few days later, the flooring subcontractor showed up to actually measure, so I'm betting nothing had been ordered.
And that is IT. The painting is done, the fixtures in place, everything works. I'm having a hard time believing it is basically over. The backsplash and flooring installs will occur in a couple of weeks, followed by a bit of touch up by the painters. Then I will fork over the rest of the money, lock the door and draw the drapes. Mi casa es mi casa, una vez más.

Re the deck, I still have not made up my mind between Vendor Number One and Vendor Number Two.

Friday, August 15, 2014

After week infinity

I wonder if it is a strategy to drag out construction projects so that by the time they are done, you don't dare nitpick the little flaws because you just want everyone OUT of your house. Sometimes I dream of a desert island where there is no phone, no door bell, no remodeling, just a grass hut and umbrella drinks.

And yet I am collecting estimates for a deck over the patio. Four deck guys have been here, and I've received three quotes; guess who will not even be considered. Actually, it is down to two of them - numbers are about the same, but their approaches are a little different. Getting estimates is like dating - someone is bound to get hurt.

So. The dining room is finished, the fireplace is painted, the living room is almost done, the hallway and bathroom about three-fourths of the way there. The current worker bees expect to be done in the middle of next week. No one has measured for the flooring by the front door yet, which means the flooring is not ordered, let alone installation scheduled. I am very pleased with the workmanship but very unhappy with the management of the overall project. I tried communicating through the PM but found it was easier to just talk to the sub-contractors myself.

Anyway, the end is in sight, more or less. The deck will be all outside work and take about a week or less. I can live with that. By then, autumn will be here and I will be ready to hunker down for the duration, knitting and hot cocoa at hand.

Friday, August 8, 2014

After week 2.5

My house didn't get much attention this week from the painters. In fact, I had to pull out the whining stops to get them to wrap up the two spare bedrooms. The problem, of course, is that I am not their only customer. Also, they are working on a project for a school building, so are under the gun to complete that before the little brats return (which gets earlier and earlier each summer). They promised to come back on Monday, but I am lowering my expectations anyway. Next week, if they can get the diningroom done and the fireplace painted, while the plumbers complete the installation of fixtures in the bathroom, I will not whine... much.

To get a head start on the bathroom, the plumbing crew began the "demo" yesterday - "demo" in this case is short for "demolition". The tub enclosure is now gone as is the vanity top. The new enclosure is supposed to be delivered on Monday. So, between the painting, the plumbing, and the electrical, we should have a full house.

Meanwhile, I have begun transferring anything I can lift from the West Wing to the bedrooms. The mattresses in each room are on metal frames, so I bought a couple of inexpensive headboards from Furniture to Go. (An aside: I have purchased and assembled a lot of Sauder furniture in my lifetime and am impressed with the improvement in selection, quality, fasteners, and instructions over the years. Except the futons. I don't think it is possible to make a comfortable futon.) Since my granddaughter will be here tomorrow, I am concentrating on making her room "livable" first.

I am also making rules (subject to change) about what goes where. The granddaughter room will be the yarn room (mostly a storage issue - the stash goes in the closet). It will also contain the hobby library. The guest bedroom will be the spinning room, so its closet will be filled with roving. Re my clothes, I decided one closetful was enough for one person, freeing up some space in the second closet in my bedroom for stuff that doesn't meet the rules for the spare bedrooms. There is a method to my madness! If I stick to the rules, I will know where to look for something. Theoretically.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in this city is the recipient of anything that is removed and reusable (like the ceiling fans and framed mirrors). If you have such a place where you live, I strongly recommend sending stuff their way.

Friday, August 1, 2014

After week 2

No worker bees today. Another client must have been whining louder than I was, and most of my whining has been directed at the overall contractor rather than the sub-contractors. The latter have been enjoying zucchini bread AND I was able to unload an accumulation of zukes on them. It was that, or sneak them into unlocked cars in the neighborhood.

Both bedrooms are this close to being done. All that remains is installing the ceiling fans and crown molding, plus a little touch-up. I did put a few things into the closets, just to feel like I was accomplishing *something*, but it barely made a dent in the West Wing.

The color we (i.e. my daughter) settled on for both bedrooms is the same as the trim color, "Heavy Cream". Going for the "blank canvas" look. I was afraid it might look too stark, but against the white-white ceilings, it definitely does not. The trim is semi-gloss and the walls flat, which also helps break up the sameness of one color. I really like it.

I've resigned myself to the fact that this remodeling is going to take at least another two weeks, one for the livingroom-diningroom-hall and one (or more) for the bathroom. In the meantime, I have started gathering estimates for the deck. More resignation: I will not be able to afford the no-maintenance composite materials for that. Oh, well.

Sometimes you need to look UP

These balloons drifted overhead last week, presumably launched from the Allen County Fairgrounds.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Not my usual zucchini bread

Rather than bake my usual whole wheat zuke brick, this year I decided to try a couple of new zucchini bread recipes.

First up, Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread, recommended by a friend. I omitted the glaze, as the bread is sweet enough as it is. And, since it is made with cake flour, it is really more cakelike than breadlike.


I fed it to the worker bees yesterday. It disappeared with alacrity. But I doubt I will make this recipe again.

In the eat-more-butter department is Shirley Estabrook Wood's Zucchini Bread, from The Essential New York Times Cookbook. Using lots of butter, eggs, sugar, and walnuts, but no yeast, this recipe creates a loaf of bread that looks yeast-risen. It is a touch too sweet for me, but otherwise delicious and very addicting. One sample bite led to another, and another, and another, until I had to put it away. This would be a good recipe for guests who are not very crunchy.


One problem I had with both loaves is, despite extending the baking times, neither was very done on the inside. I checked my oven with an oven thermometer, and it appears to be spot on, so I'm not sure what the problem is. Perhaps my stainless loaf pans?

Monday, July 28, 2014

After week 1

The total chaos that is currently my home is making me twitchy. I'd like to vacuum the kitchen and family room but the floor is barely visible. At least I can *use* the kitchen, unlike during phase 1 of the remodeling.

The ceilings are nearly done and the walls are prepped, so the messy part is over. (Does this mean no more nightly vacuuming by the crew? Darn.) They are going to work on finishing the two spare bedrooms first, so hopefully by the end of the week, I will be able to clean those carpets and move furniture back into them.

The rest of the house shouldn't be too far behind. The only kink is the bathroom - the tub enclosure won't be here until August 8. I can live without that room indefinitely, although I don't want to.

Remodeling is hard on my psyche, primarily because there are people at my door by 8am and in my house Monday through Friday. That's a tough situation for a "quirky alone". I'm not particularly neat, but the level of disorder is more than even I can stand.

I declared my bedroom a crap-free zone, so there is one room where I can go and pretend that the rest does not exist, and I spend a lot of time outside (the weather has been very cooperative). Although parts may drag out, it won't last forever (I keep telling myself). But I will be glad when it is finished, in more ways than one.