Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mud Slinger ...

I told ya it would happen, and it did, so here's your day in mud:

Lunchtime, almost one third done:

Action shot, notice the overalls and t-shirt:

At the end of the day, two thirds done:

Most likely I could have finished more, but:

  1. we had a visitor, Paul, a neighbor, stopping by to say hello
  2. Amy and Celeste brought cookies, YUMMY
  3. Tom (our steel meister) stopped by to have a second look at the bar job
  4. I had to perform some landlordy tasks
  5. the day was over, and it started getting dark
  6. what kind of slave drivers are you people, I work my butt off here, I can always finish tomorrow


Monday, March 30, 2009

M*E*S*H ...

The kitchen outside wall is all wired up (even if you can't see it in below picture), which means tomorrow there will be more mud slinging, yeah!!!

E! meanwhile applied coats of high gloss paint in the kitchen (I know, you don't believe it until you see it, so here is the picture of a white wall and ceiling):

Gotcha!!! Seriously, you wouldn't see much else in an actual picture. Having the painting done, though, means that we are getting closer to putting the kitchen to work.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

No Pictures, Lots Of Text ...

Seen the picture of a white wall lately? Well, I ain't gonna post one (today)! Anyhow, E! was very busy in the kitchen, sanding and priming ceiling and walls, and it looks great, take my word for it.

In the meantime I was busy installing more metal lath. This is pretty easy and straightforward, thanks to our Remington 479. The problem is, that too often the cartridge gets stuck after firing the shot, and I have to dismantle the gun to get it out, and that takes time.

The afternoon was filled with cleaning up the old garden area (E!), and mowing the lawn on the parking lot side (me). We are planning to till the lawn over there and turn it into a garden, with herbs, veggies, and berries.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Lots Of Pictures, Little Text ...

I know this is how you like it, so let's cut right to the chase, the day in pictures:

As you can see, t-shirt and overalls are back, so it must be Spring.

E! was busy (no picture, sorry, only text; oh, don't complain, you can read a few lines) in the kitchen today, cleaning the floor so we can reseal it, and start moving appliances in.

And we have been freeloading again. Right now, the power company has tree pruning teams work the streets, pruning trees to avoid potential power outages from fallen tree limbs. Anyhow, they produce a lot of wood chips, which they are more than willing to give away. Well, so far we got three truck loads full, which we'll use for our garden, and whatever else we may come up with.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Love It Or Not ...

I shouldn't make promises I have to keep, but here you have it, The Wall:

Happy now?! Oh, you don't see anything special?! Now let me tell you something, this wall spells perfection, it is as smooth as a baby's bottom. What do you say about that?!

Let's take it outdoors. How do you like that:

Oh, you still don't see anything?! Alright, point for you, the wire mesh doesn't shine in the picture, but it's there. But tomorrow, I will make it disappear, and you will love it, or not, but I will do it anyway, and I will tell you all about it, and take pictures (I really shouldn't make promises).


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Wall(s) ...

Remember November, when we started installing metal lath on the cinder block wall outside the kitchen? Well, that effort was cut short by the quick onset of Winter. But now temperatures are back to agreeable, and I went back out to finish the job.

I completed the north side of the cinder block, in hope that I start stuccoing on Friday. Now that will be exciting, because I have never done that, but that's no news. So, if you have any experience in stuccoing, leave me your two cents in a comment. Maybe I'll make another video of that, it'll be messy for sure.

Speaking of wall coverings, E! was very busy plastering the kitchen walls, and boy, she is rocking and rolling. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures, but I'll make up for it tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Roll In The Keg ...

We got the good news this morning, we officially have a liquor license, at least a preliminary one, pending a few minor things, like, er, having a functional restaurant. This is great news! Gee, and it took only 13 months to get it!!! Good thing we aren't open yet.

Anyhow, it is good news, but it also puts some pressure on us to get things going, as the preliminary license is good only 180 days. So we better open by Labor Day. I know, we said that last year already, but this year we really mean it.


Monday, March 23, 2009

The Bar ...

You asked for it (or maybe not), I promised it (I did), and here they are: Pictures of the bar!!!

Here is how it looked like, before we bought Gunk Haus:

The same scene today looks a little stripped down:

What happened? Not sure where to start, but we wanted to remove the air condition duct above the bar, get rid of the faux wood paneling on the walls, and expose the ceiling joist. In other words, we started stripping down the bar room.

That's when we discovered a few things. For one, there was a 12 inch high I-beam running the entire length of the room. But in order to get air condition to the back of the bar, a really smart dude (sarcasm alert) cut a hole in it:

That hole renders the I-beam pretty much useless. Fortunately, that didn't change too much, because it is pretty much useless, in other words, it doesn't really do much, but hold another beam, which holds up the second floor. This other (wooden) beam, we found, was broken:

So what is going to happen pretty soon, is that the existing I-beam will be removed, and the broken wooden beam will be replaced by an I-beam and a column to hold it up. Once all that is done, we can start to reassemble the bar.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just Another Day Ending In Y ...

In general having a regular job means that you know what day of the week it is (there are exceptions of course). We don't exactly have a regular job, so weekends are like any other day, with the exception that certain stores or offices are closed, because the people working there have regular jobs, and therefore have weekends off.

So, work it was for us today. Mike (our electrician) had let us know that he'd like to test fire our dish washer next time he comes by, which is why I spent today in and around the dish washer.

Now folks, a commercial dish washer is nothing like that dirt distributor you'll find in a residential kitchen. For one, it is heavy, because it is made from stainless steel. Next, it cleans and sanitizes (unlike a residential dish washer, a commercial dish washer actually sanitizes the dishes) dishes in one minute flat.

Most of the time I spent trying to remove a broken bolt, which eventually I succeeded in, but not without pain, and several runs to Lowe's. In the process, I got to look around the dish washer a little bit, and figure out its interior workings. This may sound dull to you, but I consider it important to know and understand our equipment, because by the time we open shop, if anything fails, I want to know how to fix it.

Off to the Misses. E! started cleaning up the old garden on the parking lot side. It is fertile ground, but the fencing around it is (or was) an eye sore, and there was some trash strewn around.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Brewhaha ...

Today was the annual home brew competition of the Hudson Valley Home Brewers, of which I am a member. I always submit a beer, not because I think I am the best brewer in the world, but it's always interesting to get other people's opinion.

Not surprisingly, I didn't win a prize, and that is fine, because I had a really good time. I tried a lot of home brew, got to know a few new people, and met already familiar faces. It is a small world up here, but I still get surprised by how people are connected, and who knows whom.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Cleanup In Aisle Five ...

After the completion of the beer hall ceiling it was time to bring some order to the beer hall.

I have to confess, I am a hunter and gatherer, and I always have a hard time parting with things. As useless as they may seem at the present, I always see a future use, or the potential thereof. So I hold on to every scrap of wood, I religiously collect and reuse nails (E! is still frowning at our early days at Gunk Haus, when I pretty much refused to buy nails, I can be somewhat extreme).

But today was a day to say goodbye to a host of wood scrap, which we just kept around for the tomorrow that never came. Second fact about me is that I can be quite the neat freak, and I frequently sweep the floor, despite the fact that they will be just as dirty again the next day.

And another confession, it wasn't really that tough to part with all the wood scrap, because it is still out there in the dumpster, and I know I can get it back if need be (I have been dumpster diving many a times during our renovation efforts).

While I was slacking off, I wasn't really productive today, E! was busy in the kitchen spackling the drywall joints. We are eager to get the kitchen and dish station done, so E! can start cooking, and work on recipes.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Es Ist Vollbracht ...

What an exciting moment, the beer hall ceiling is done!!! Exciting!!!

So, what else is new?

It was almost another contractor love fest today. A contractor for the structural work in the bar (I really need to post pictures about that sometime) stopped by again, Mike (our electrician, who we love very much - I know you're reading this, Mike, so I'm putting it on extra thick) briefly came over to look at our FINISHED BEER HALL CEILING!!!

And lastly, not leastly, the hood dudes were here, more precisely the guys who do fire suppression systems. So without further ado, I present to you, well, the fire suppression system:

The big red bottle contains nitrogen or whatever substance, which in case of fire will be sprayed from the nozzles under hood onto the fire under the hood. The system is mostly mechanical, with stainless steel ropes running from the control box (above the red bottle) to shutoff the propane. The system is triggered either by a manual pulley, again connected via rope to the control box, or by a nifty triggering mechanism under the hood, consisting of an alloy with a low melting point, and, you guessed it, another rope connecting to the control box.

Funny tidbit, one of the hood dudes complemented us on the old beams in the beer hall, until I told him that they were boxed out LVLs. Gosh, that felt good.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So Close ...

Doesn't it look beautiful?

Ok, there are still a few boards missing on the other side of the ceiling, but we should get them up tomorrow. Regardless, it looks spanktastic!!!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Closing In ...

The last post is boxed out, and we're closing in on finishing the ceiling. Here is a taste of what it'll look like once the ceiling cover meets the roof ridge cover:

I spent almost three hours on getting this one piece of ceiling cover in place. Thing is, the last pieces need to be trimmed to whatever space they fill, and that is usually not a rectangular space, so I spend a lot of time climbing up and down the scaffold, trying to fit the board, fail, trim some more off, trim the other board, and repeat. I am telling you this just in case you wondered why we haven't opened yet. Some day, wait for it ...


Monday, March 16, 2009

More Of The Same ...

The roof ridge cover is almost complete. All that's missing is the post (as seen in below picture). I'll tackle that tomorrow, and then it's off to finishing the ceiling. Whoopee!!!!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spinal Tap ...

At long last, I know you've all been waiting for it, we started finishing the beer hall ceiling, emphasis on started. Today we focused on the ridge box-out.

First there is the support for the box-out ...

... then you box it out.

Then another section ...

... then you box out the post ...

... and you're done, at least for one half of the ceiling. More tomorrow ... :-)


Friday, March 13, 2009

Pirate's Booty ...

One of the perks of having, or opening, a business is that people try to sell you stuff. In case of a restaurant the stuff is often food or beverages. We had not one, but two vendors stop by today, one for beer, and one for meat products. We ended up with sample bottles of different beers, and sample packages of different sausages.

Meat and beer, it's what's for dinner ... ;-)

We did some work today, shocking as it may sound. E! (hopefully) finished staining the wood cover for the beer hall (she hates the fumes, but she is a trooper - somebody have an olympic gold medal to spare?). She also helped me hang some drywall in the dish station. Oh, and we had another metal dude come by, which took a good hour out of my day. Do I sound like making excuses for not having anything big to report of? Maybe. But on some days not much, or at least not much noteworthy happens. How are you all doing?


Thursday, March 12, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours ...

I don't know what was in the air today, but our house was swarming with contractors.

Mike (our electrician) was here, working on our dish washer (switching it from single phase back to three phase), and connecting various outlets and lights. We love Mike.

On short notice our propane man stopped by today to install the propane pipe for the kitchen line. E! can't wait to get her appliances hooked up, neither can I, and a few other 100 people who constantly ask us when we'll open. The short answer is: When we're done!

Another metal fabrication contractor stopped by to look at our bar project (I should post pictures about that sometimes, so that you get an idea what it's all about).

As you can see, we had a good day with respect to contractors. It was a pretty day, which led me to do some outside work. Remember the ditch I had dug last year for our parking lot electric service panel? After having been buried under snow all winter long, I finally closed it today. Fortunately I had covered the soil with plastic, which made it stay dry and loose, and made my job much easier than having to shovel wet and compacted soil.

Not sure what will happen tomorrow, but it will happen.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Heavy Metal ...

I was stuck in first gear all day, never got anywhere. I started preparing for the wood cover in the beer hall roof ridge. E! still has to stain the wood, but by the end of the week we may start installing it.

We had a steel fabricator stop by today to give us a quote for removing the steel I-beam in the bar, and replacing a broken wooden beam with a steel I-beam. Surprisingly, the labor was less than the material. I'm going to get some more quotes from other contractors.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Welcome Back ...

In case you were wondering, which I am certain you do, because there hasn't been a blog post for the last four days, we weren't working, so there was nothing to report. E! and I had traveled to Michigan for a long weekend to celebrate her Dad's 70th birthday.

We had a very good time (thank you Pat and Tom). But as you may have suspected, we can't go anywhere without thinking about work and Gunk Haus. On Saturday we went to Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan for those of you who care, and Zingerman's, which is what we were interested in.

Zingerman's started out as a deli, and over the years expanded to have a bakery, a creamery, a restaurant, and a coffee house. This kind of vertical business model is something we aspire to in the long run. Now, I say we, but I have to clarify something: The mastermind behind Gunk Haus is, and will always be, my beloved wife Elizabeth. She has a great sense for business, which I am completely devoid of.

Aside from an admirable business model, Zingerman's also has a great attitude towards customer service. Walk into any of their stores, and you will be amazed by the friendliness and helpfulness of their staff. At the deli we had no problem getting ahold of a manager, talking extensively to one of their sales staff about cheese (including free samples), beer, business, and more. At the bakery we got to talk to one of their bakers, quizzing him about pretzel tips and tricks. At the creamery we talked more cheese and business with one of their very knowledgeable sales staff.

As I said, it was a great trip, and now we're back at Gunk Haus, getting it ready for business.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Monkey Wrenches ...

We put up the last pieces of drywall on the kitchen ceiling today. I know, I make it sound like that is a big accomplishment, but we like to recognize progress, even the little ones, that keeps us moving forward.

And we need these little pats on the shoulder for days like today, when we have setbacks. Lou, our trusty engineer, stopped by today to look at our septic system. To make it short, it is not adequate for the number of seats we envision our restaurant to have.

He's going to think about how to layout the leech field, septic tank, and well, so that we can open a restaurant with a capacity that makes financial sense. That's what's great about Lou, he tries to make things work for us.

But as you may sense, that is another expense, which we would have wanted to avoid, at least in the short term. But we'll know better once Lou gets back to us with our options.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Brrrrrrrrrr ...

Honestly, it is March 3rd, does it really need to be that cold?! Granted, it has been much colder this Winter, and maybe it was just the wind, which made it feel colder, but I am ready for warmer weather, because the cold is putting a damper on my mood, and I don't get much done.

Yesterday it was particularly windy, and subsequently cold, so we ended up not accomplishing anything but driving around, and getting materials for upcoming projects.

Today was better, and I installed duct work for the kitchen and wait station, and closed the kitchen ceiling with drywall (at least the first layer; as this is a commercial kitchen with open fire we are required to cover the kitchen ceiling with two layers of fire rated drywall, and that's what we'll do tomorrow).

While I was busy with the ducts, E! went and got more (furry) wood, which we'll use to cover the ridge in the beer hall ceiling, and the posts that hold it up.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

All Done ...

I bet you didn't see that coming, but we finished something today, the ceiling cover in the beer hall, on the west side, towards the bottom. This may sound like feel-goodering to you, and you are absolutely right, but in a project like ours it is important to notice progress, recognize that things are moving forward, and actually are getting done. Else you might as well lie down in bed, and wait until they carry you away (to wherever they carry people, who lie in bed waiting to be carried away).


Posing for the camera ...

... and all done. Told ya ... ;-)