Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cover Up ...

After a minor delay we started work on the beer hall ceiling today. Without further ado, let's look at what happened.

First you have to make sure you get a straight line for the first row. Look Jerry, Ted (my favorite tool rental places), I got a laser level, why couldn't I borrow that from you?! ... ;-)

The first row is the toughest, but it looks pretty straight, thanks to the (are you listening Jerry and Ted) LASER LEVEL.

The second row is so much easier, and it is still considerably close to the ground, though being six feet up on a solid yet shaky scaffold can be upsetting to people with fear of height.

At the end of the day we got five rows installed.

Now kids, we also shot another movie today, but I have to scale it down first, because it is rather large, and I would quickly use up the available disk space for this blog. Stay tuned ...


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Woman Down ...

So you wonder where the fabulous pictures of our newly covered beer hall ceiling are. Wonder no more, they don't exist, yet.

Well, E! had caught a stomach virus and was down for two days, which means no ceiling work, as this is a two person job. But tomorrow, maybe.

I entertained myself with plumbing work, and other little things that have been bugging me for a while. Nothing noteworthy, just work.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gunk Haus On The Web ...

Actually Gunk Haus was off the web today. Our domain name registrar had issues, and thus didn't work for some time today.

But while I was at it, I googled "Gunk Haus" just for the fun of it. It turns out Gunk Haus is Number One!!! Alright, so we share the title, and yes it is really just about the most interesting new business name, of that week, which seems to be a regular feature in the Westchester County Business Journal.

WCBJ meet me at camera #3 (I am watching way too much The Daily Show). First of all, "I'll have the salad" in German translates to "Ich hätte gerne den Salat". For Christ sakes, punch it into Google and have it translated. Now what makes you think that we only have A Salad?! Yes, there will be plenty of meat on the menu, and sausages on end, but we also recognize that there are people out there who don't like to eat meat, and they should feel just as welcome, so there will be more than just one salad, and plenty of other vegetarian and vegan dishes.

On to the picture section. I know, some of you are just skimming my blog for the pictures, and that is alright. I try to post lots of pictures, but sometimes I feel stupid posting a picture of something that you can look at in your own bathroom, kitchen, or any other place. Anyhow, here's the water works construction site, early this morning ...

... and around lunch today.

I poured some concrete for the water pressure tank. The white board will be used to adhere the UV water treatment system, and various other thingies. I'm calling Jeff (our plumber) tomorrow, to get on his calendar.

Tomorrow, we will start on the beer hall ceiling. Now that is exciting!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Water Works ...

I hope you all had a nice Christmas, we certainly did.

But today it was back to work. E! is still busy staining the ship lap for the beer hall. I started preparing the basement for the overhaul of our water treatment system. Here is how it looks like today:

From right to left you see the pressure tank, the chlorination tank, and the water softener. The last two we will get rid off, and replace with a UV water treatment system. The wall on the left hand side is where all that will go.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Piece Meal ...

E! was busy staining the ship lap for the ceiling. It would be too tough to stain them once they're installed.

Here are the fruits of labor.

Meanwhile, I was using up the remaining drywall sheets and started walling up the second bathroom. But I will now focus in the basement for a few days, because I need to prepare for the installation of the UV water treatment system. Our plumber Jeff was over yesterday, and we talked about how to arrange the water treatment and distribution system. Within the next two weeks we should get started on that, then it's on to plumbing in the dish station, and installing the grease trap.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow White And The Seven Radiators ...

It has been snowing since Friday. It will stop to snow and start to rain on Wednesday, just in time for Christmas, what else is new.

All the radiators are installed in the beer hall, and they make it toasty warm.

E! started staining the wood for the beer hall ceiling, while I installed more drywall. Work as usual.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Whiteout ...

We were in the Big Apple the last two days, though we had to cut it short. In case you missed it, we got about eight inches of snow today. Driving up from New York was ok when we left around noon. It got bad before and after the Tappan-Zee-Bridge, but then it cleared up in traffic, not in snow. Unfortunately that's when my windshield wipers started to collect snow and I saw things all blurry. Towards the end I had to stop ever few miles to clean the wipers, because I could barely see the lane in front of me. It took us five and a half hours for 100 miles.

Now to all you kids, make sure you check your windshield wipers before the next snow storm hits, because it isn't fun, and it is outright dangerous (Mom, Dad, you didn't read that I actually did all that, I'm fine).

Anyhow, we had a good time in the city (thanks Mark for hosting us), spending most of the time in the Bowery, that's where all the kitchen supply stores are, looking at heavy and not so heavy kitchen equipment. We went to the lighting district looking - surprise - at lighting. And of course we went out to eat and drink to places we find interesting from either a food, drink, or business perspective, because they have a similar concept as to what we are aiming for, or to get ideas about decor, etc.

When we got home today there was a big pile of snow in front of our door, which turned out to contain the remaining three radiators for the beer hall. You know what that means ... there shall be (more) heat ... :-)


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holz Vor Der Hütte ...

We got the wood for the beer hall ceiling delivered today, 1x12 ship lap.

First order of business, carrying it into the house, roughly 150 pieces. Who needs a gym when you fix up a house.

Also, Lou stopped by. He's a semi-retired structural engineer, and he's doing the engineering for removing the steel beam in the bar, along with fixing the broken beam in the bar. Things are moving forward ...


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Feel The Excitement ...

We woke up this morning to find out that we didn't have any coffee, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!! We take any excuse, ANY, to not have to work, so we went for breakfast. None of this is important, but we wanted to head out this morning anyway, so this was just a detour.

We went to a lumber yard, because we wanted to look at some ... wait for it ... lumber. As I had mentioned we are close to covering up the ceiling in the beer hall, and today we ordered the material. We should receive it by tomorrow.

So we hung some more drywall, this time in the bathroom. Things are starting to shape up.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Local Warming ...

Today had to be a better day. Granted, yesterday wasn't totally bad, but it could have been better. Still, I needed some success.

I called the radiator manufacturer today. I had a good chat with the representative. He assured me, that they sell thousands of radiators, and he had never heard of this problem. He offered to send me new connector pieces for the ones I gummed up so far. And he offered advice on using teflon tape, seven to eight wraps around the threading should do, I only used three or so.

The root of the problem most likely lies in the fact that the threading of the connector pieces to the radiator is BSP (British standard pipe), as opposed to NPT (national pipe thread). The BSP thread in this case is a straight thread, whereas the NPT thread is tapered. You can read on Wikipedia what that means.

Regardless, I wrapped, and wrapped, and wrapped (repeat eight times) the teflon tape around the connector piece, and screwed it in nicely. Et voilà, it worked, and again, and again, and again. Quickly hook up the thermostat and fire up the boiler. Well, it was almost too warm to use heat today, a whopping 62°F, but this will change, and we'll be ready.

Time to bring out the champagne, no wait, that just froze to death in the fridge ... ;-)


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Always Something ...

Where do I begin? The day didn't start so bad, I finished the dry walling I had started yesterday, it looks great. On then to my favorite task for the last few days, heat in the beer hall. I had applied the nasty sticky stuff the day before, gave it some time to cure so that it be ready for action today.

I open the flood gates, i.e. valves, to the radiators, and ... four out of eight valves (two of which on one radiator) hold steady to the pressure (thanks for your comment, Kathleen, but I tried the locktite that came with the radiators, I tried teflon tape, and I tried my nasty sticky stuff). Not so good, but not too bad. At least I get to test the rest of the heat piping for the beer hall.

As I still have to install the thermostat, I simply short the wires (24V DC is not a biggy, but you knew that) to turn on the circulation pump ... nothing. Again ... nothing, again. I get out my trusty volt meter ... power all the way to the circulation pump. No pumping, though. I don't even sigh anymore, I gave that up long time ago.

Replacing the circulation pump can invite all sorts of disasters. It is normally shielded on both sides by a valve for easy replacement. That's a great idea, if those two valves work, but you know how this can turn out. Well, it turns out I got lucky, and both valves still work like a champ, and I am talking Olympic gold medal champ.

I get the new pump, and some wire with it, as the old one looked a little untrustworthy (why do I have these nightmares about the place burning down). So here is the culprit, to be seen on the left:

And now it's gone, while my favorite pipe holder holds the pipe:

And now the new one is in, easy-peasy:

It worked like a champ, and it circulated the heat through the one radiator, which didn't have any problems with leakage. No wait, what's that wet spot there?

I know I make mistakes sometimes, but the leaking valve problem I do not claim responsibility for anymore. I have to call the manufacturer tomorrow, because the threading on those valves is totally off.

Anyhow, the day ends, time to decompress, and time for a cold beer, which we keep in a fridge that came with the property (and it actually says on it: cold beer). The beer in there was cold, alright. In fact, it was frozen stiff, most bottles shattered. Clearly the fridge thermostat must have left the room within the last two days, and caused the fridge to become a freezer.

And they asked me why I drink ... ;-)

Now the good news: Laziness is bliss! The other day we went beer shopping, but I was too lazy to put it in the fridge. You connect the dots ...


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Drip, Drip, Drip ...

I am usually a patient person, but sometimes I get anxious, like getting the heat going in the beer hall. Well, I tried the sticky sealant today, and I am sure it will work, I just couldn't wait and flooded the radiators too early. Subsequently they were still dripping, only a little bit though. So I'll bide my time, let the sealant cure, and get back to it tomorrow.

In the meantime, and for our sheer pleasure and entertainment (because that's what this is all about) we hung some more drywall today:

Tomorrow, after the heat is going (cross your eyes, fingers, legs), we may tackle the ADA bathroom (behind the Lowe's house wrap in the picture above). On Monday we'll start calling around for the wood for the ceiling. Now that is exciting!


Friday, December 12, 2008

D-Day ...

If you ever wondered what the D in D-Day stands for, it's disappointment, downer, disillusionment. I have actually gotten used to the fact that things never work the way I envision them, and I am almost diappointed if they do.

I worked on the finishing touches of the radiators in the beer hall today, screw in the valves and vents, hooked them up to the PEX tubes, and checked all the connections, twice.

It all looked good, so I opened the floor gates of the heating system, and filled the radiators with water. Drip, drip, drip. Everything was fine, except for the valve connections at the radiators. The manufacturer had sent a sealing paste along with the valves, which I applied as directed, but it didn't work as indicated, clearly it wasn't, as all the valves were dripping at the same spot. But I somewhat suspect that the threading may be too loose, because I used the sealing paste at another spot, which was fine.

No despair, I have some really nastily sticking sealant, which I'll try tomorrow, and I will be sure to use lots of it. There shall be heat!!!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Long Day ... Again ...

Why does heating related work always end up in long working days? Well, it doesn't of course, but I wanted to get something done, so that I can crank up the heat in the beer hall tomorrow. I'm not done yet, but tomorrow it will happen, unless the sky falls down, or I fail to hear the alarm and sleep in ... ;-)

We had visitors today, a reporter from the New Paltz Times. Soon we will be famous, gracing page 17 of the local newspaper ... kidding. Of course we are grateful of the news showing interest in us, after all that's free advertising. My biggest fear is though, that by the time we open, people already have such high expectations, that we may not be able satisfy.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wait For It ...

I guess I can't let go, and I shouldn't. I serviced the oil burner this morning, and I was reminded why I like to pay people to do it for me, it's dirty work. I did as much as I could and knew, but there were certain tasks, which I didn't want to attempt today, because things can go wrong, and I have enough other things to do than having to deal with a non-working oil burner when it's cold outside. I have to call Matt again. Wait for it ...

Instead, I continued work on the beer hall heat. I am not finished yet, but hopefully by tomorrow, no later than Friday. Wait for it ...

With the assumption that I will get the beer hall heating done before the weekend, I ordered some more drywall, so that we have something to do this weekend. After the drywall is up, we can start on the beer hall ceiling cover. Wait for it ...


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Divorce Papers ...

I can't do it, I just can't. You really love somebody, and you get disappointed time and again. Yesterday at 11am he was supposed to come over again, but he never showed, never called. I'm sure something came up, but I don't care anymore.

I hate that. Matt is a great guy, he does great work, and he's incredibly polite, but he never shows, when he says he would. He doesn't call to tell me he won't show, because whatever happened. I am trying to support local and small business, but gosh, work with me, help me, too.

Tomorrow, I will service that oil burner myself. I would have done that long time ago, but it's easier to pay someone to do it.

Today, the burner stopped for some unknown reason, but most likely because it needed cleaning. Fortunately, I have become a semi-pro with oil burners, thanks to Matt. The rest can be found in the books. But let's face it, there are about four to five simple things, anyone with a left and a right thumb can do to tune up their oil burner.

What bugs me is that I have other work, which needs to be done, like hooking up the radiators in the beer hall, which I did some work on today (see picture below), but as Jeff Lebowski already said: The dude abides.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Proudly Presenting ...

I just wanted to share with you a picture of our new addition to Gunk Haus, it was too late yesterday to take one. Isn't it precious, for the price anyway:


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sitzfleisch ...

Sitzfleisch literally translates to sitting flesh, but it is a German expression for having patience. We sat a lot today, a little over six hours, straight! That's when we were up, more precisely, our item was up.

See, part of opening a restaurant is that you need a lot of things, some of which we buy at auction. So today we went to an auction. It started at 2pm. We actually went for an eight foot bench, which is almost too short, but for the right price we make anything work.

Well, it turned out that the bench wasn't so great, and someone already had left an absentee bid, but we did see a few other things that looked interesting, amongst them, a table with four chairs.

At roughly 1000 items up for auction it took until after 8pm until the table and chairs came up. By that time we were determined to make it ours. The auctioneer started at $50, but I signaled to E! to wait. Nobody bid, and after a little while the auctioneer dropped the starting price to $25. E!'s arm went up. Going once, going twice, gone ...

You could argue that spending six or seven hours waiting to get one item sounds like a lot of time, but time is something we have, and money is something we want to preserve until we open the restaurant. We have seen places spend too much money on trying to open up, and then don't have enough money left to run the restaurant.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Gunk Haus Underground ...

I went into the abyss today, the underbelly of Gunk Haus, in plain English: the crawl space. It carries its name with pride. I was installing some PEX tubing (the gray line in the pictures) for the beer hall radiators.

The crawl space isn't so bad. Granted, there are lots of spider webs, it's dirty, the ceiling is low, and it looks like whoever built the beer hall addition simply burried all their trash underneath. But heck, it's dry.

I will have to get back in there a few more times, as I'm not done yet running all the PEX tubing, some of which I don't even have yet. In addition, the drain pipes from the dish station will run through here. I am tempted to clean up a little down there, but then who cares.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Get Used To Disappointment ...

I'm sure you remember my recent foray into heat-related plumbing. One of the setbacks then was a hot water supply line, which kept on trickling even after the shutoff valve was closed.

Well, today was the day of reckoning. I am working on hooking up the radiators in the beer hall, and I need that supply line. Since may last hooray, I had plenty of time to think about how to stop the stupid line from trickling water, so that I can solder (löten) a PEX connector to it.

Normally I start these attacks early in the day, in case something goes wrong. But I hadn't prepared myself as last time, so this morning I was out on the street soldering a few pieces together, which would then be soldered to the supply line:

After lunch I was ready for battle, and I executed my plan with the precision of a surgeon: Shut off the water to the boiler, close all heating zone valves, drain some water from the boiler, solder the PEX connector to the supply line, and reverse the boiler shutoff.

The result was rather anticlimactic. It worked just the way I thought it might.

E! is the sweetest. Just before I started, she checked whether we have all the supplies, that make a good vodka martini (thanks for the olives, Mark, I didn't need them today). I love her.

Aside from all this Mike (the electrician) stopped by today. He finished up a little bit of work on the service panel, so that the inspector can look at it. Hopefully this happens soon, so that we can get light into the beer hall and the bar.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blast From The Past ...

A few weeks back our dear Shirley Anson, president of the Plattekill Historical Society, dropped off a picture, which I would like to share with you:

This is what Gunk Haus looked like roughly 100 years ago. It hasn't changed much, don't you think? It already was painted the way we restored it to. The kitchen and beer hall additions to the right are still missing, and there is a balcony on the left, which doesn't exist anymore, but you can see the main entrance and the little side entrance right next to it, which we have since closed off.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Last Sheet Standing, Er, Hanging ...

I used up the last sheet of blueboard we had today. Not that we're done, but I wanted to use up what we have to free up floor space in the beer hall. We'll get more soon, but for now we covered what we wanted to cover.

Just for the kicks I hung a radiator, so I get a feel for it. Eventually they will be covered by a banquette (fixed bench), but this won't happen before next year. Tomorrow I'll start running the tubing for the radiators, which will take a few days.

E! is still busy fixing and painting all the window sashes in the house, and it looks really great. It makes such a difference to the appearance of the house.

We got a call from Mike today, letting us know that we're on his books for this week, which means pretty soon we may get our new electrical service, and we will be able to turn on all those pretty new circuits Mike had installed over the summer. There shall be light! But that also means that we don't have any excuse anymore not to work past 4:30pm.