Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Measles ...

We are continuing to wrap up outside work. E! started to touch up the outside paint. In the last two years we learned a thing or two. For instance, even if you prime pine wood, the knots will come through sooner than later. So today E! reapplied primer where the knots started to show.

At long last, I reinstalled the front door. I was tired for a while now of using the screwdriver to open the front door, i.e. remove the plywood.

One of the highlights of the day was the delivery and installation of the septic pump chamber. It holds only 4000 gallons (as opposed to the 4500 gallons the septic tank holds), and therefore may be only big enough to house an Oompa Loompa family with 23 kids. I spare you the many pictures I took, because they pretty much show what happened during the installation of the septic tank.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Light Show ...

Now that the front entrance is mostly done, I switched back to finishing electrical work. I am pretty close to having everything done for the final inspection. Today I turned on most of the outdoor lights (I mostly did outlets yesterday, which is neither noteworthy nor pictureworthy).

I was slated to finish the front door today, and I started the day by cutting the glass for it (about two by three feet), which I had gotten for free on Free Cycle. Unfortunately the glass broke, which wrecked my day early on.

What better to do than spend a lot of money. Shopping therapy works, sometimes.

As I didn't see any chance of finding another piece of glass this big for free any time soon, we went out and bought one. This one's safety glass, which isn't a bad thing anyway for the front entrance.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yesterday's News ...

I didn't have time to do a blog yesterday (we were baby sitting), so here you have yesterday's news and pictures.

Nick, our super duper pooper scooper septic system excavooter, hooked us up to the new septic tank. Given the size of the tank (at our current rate of water usage it will take us three months to fill it up) it doesn't matter that it isn't connected to a leach field yet.

Plus, we're slated to get the pump chamber on Tuesday, baring any more rain. Nick already excavated the hole for it, another big one.

We installed the panels on the front entrance yesterday. Now it looks like Mondrian painting, because the molding around the red panels is still missing. We're not yet decided on the size and color.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Oversize Me ...

The show started this morning a little after 8am, and it was over by 10am. But don't let me bore you with text, here are a lot of pictures (and I'll sprinkle a little bit of text throughout).

The setup for the setting of the septic tank.

Let's start with the base.

You may notice the water in the tank. I'm not sure if it was there on purpose, but it certainly helped with leveling the base.

On to the next section.

This is pretty big, you could house a tribe of Oompa Loompas in there ...

... and to make sure they don't escape, you put a lid on top.

Throw some dirt on it, and gone it is.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mount Gunk Haus ...

The dirt is starting to pile up in the back of Gunk Haus ...

... and the patio area is growing. I wonder where all that dirt came from.

Oops!!! There we go.

Tomorrow is the big day, when we get our septic tank delivered. It comes in three parts. That will be exciting.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Money Pit ...

If you wonder where all our money goes look no further, here it is:

Nick, our (everybody now) super duper pooper scooper septic system excavooter, started digging the hole for our septic tank. Now what you see here is only half the hole, and it is only for one of two tanks (of pretty much equal size).

That's a lot of dirt that comes out of the ground, which has to go somewhere. What better to do with it than create a patio. Looks pretty good already, but wait until it's all done.

We, meanwhile, worked on making the front of the house look prettier and more complete. E! replaced the siding to the left of the main entrance, which was a lot easier than scraping and painting.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Well Plug ...

As part of our septic system project we have to abandon our old well. Essentially what you do is stick a long hose or tube down the well, and fill it with a clay-water-and-maybe-a-few-other-things mixture, which then becomes really thick and impenetrable.

Then you put a nice blue cap (different colors are available upon request, though I was told purple is sold out until next year) on it to make it tight, and that's it.

There was more digging and pushing dirt around going on today, but nothing spectacular. The big day is Friday. That's when we get the tanks, weather permitting. I might have to shoot some videos when they're installed.

In case you were wondering what E! does these days, well, she is busy refurbishing the main entrance door, stripping off the old paint, filling in holes, and eventually repainting it, in cottage red.

The main entrance itself is coming along as well. I installed the glass in the right window, and installed the left window frame. Soon it will sparkle again.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Treasure Hunt ...

I may have mentioned it once or twice already, but I'll recap (after all, we have new readers coming in every other blue moon): After two years of working on Gunk Haus we have not found any notable treasures or monies (except for pocket change; does anyone know what a 1943 penny is worth), dead bodies, or drugs. The only notable find ever was an adult entertainment magazine (circa 1970s, when hair was still in and acceptable).

But we haven't give up. Buried somewhere must be a secret stash of Washingtons, or, God forbid, Lincolns. So under the disguise of having to install a new septic system we brought in heavy equipment to tear up the ground.

First thing in the morning we took the metal detector out into the field, and we got lucky. From the sound of the metal detector, there was a lot of stuff in the ground. So we dug it out, and found the casing of our old well. I admit, we didn't really look for it, it was sticking out of the ground, but we were only practicing.

But as we had excavated it already, we cut off as much as we could (might as well, you get 8 cents a pound at the junk yard).

Next we dug around the existing leach field, a prime burial ground for dead bodies, like ancient Inkas, they always have gold in their graves.

And we got lucky!!! We found an underground vault, and the gang went wild. Unfortunately it turned out to be part of the septic system. Oh well.

At the end of the day the yard was torn up, and we hadn't found anything. Maybe I'll cash in the scrap metal we found at the junk yard tomorrow, a buck or two here and there certainly adds up.

Work (I think that's what this blog is all about) on the main entrance is coming along. It is taking a little longer than I hoped for, but it will be fantastic.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Face Off ...

What I should have done yesterday is take the existing top trim of the front entrance off, before I started on the door frame. But I was so eager to get going on it that I lost all foresight and good sense. Oh well, nothing better than redoing work twice or trice or fourice (if that's a word, if not I take credit for creating it).

Today I rectified my mistake by taking the old trim off ...

... putting plywood up, and wrapping the whole thing like a Christmas present.

If things pan out as I envision them (which they never seem to because otherwise we would have already won the lottery jackpot, moved to Paris, and eat baguette and drink wine all day long), then I will install the new windows on the front entrance, tidy it all up, and install trim. Now keep in mind, tomorrow our beloved super duper pooper scooper septic system excavooter (the current record of saying this really fast goes to Amy, I want to say it was roughly 1.5 seconds) Nick will be back, and there will be some serious digging this week. Word is that our septic tanks are ready, so brace yourselves for some concrete action this week.

On a different note, we went over to Little Dog Orchard this afternoon to claim our apple tree, and let me tell you, these apples are yummmmmmy!!! Naturally grown, now pesticides, no chemicals, yum, yum!!!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Boarding House ...

Houses with boarded up doors and windows are never a pretty sight, and they tend to create a negative vibe for an entire neighborhood. Therefore I hereby apologize to all our neighbors for doing just that, board up the front entrance.

I removed the front door today so I could install the new door frame. This is an ambitious project, as is ties in with doing the entire front of the main entrance. I should have left it 'til tomorrow, as we are cutting today short, because E!'s Dad is in town, and we're having dinner together.

Well, I was stupid enough to start it anyway, and things just went wrong left and right. First I cut a piece of door trim too short, then after having both pieces of door trim installed I realized that they weren't wide enough, and after I installed wider ones it occurred to me that I may have to take these off again as well, because the front of the main entrance is not level, and the trim above the door will be at an angle, which I didn't account for on the side trim.

I am a little annoyed at myself. Fortunately I know that E!'s sister will have margaritas waiting for us.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Busy Day, Not Much Done ...

It rained again, not much, but enough to make outside work annoying. Subsequently, I didn't get much done in actual work, but that's ok, I needed to do a little measuring and planning anyway.

In addition we had our bank's appraiser come by this morning, so I had to take some time to show him around, all the improvements we had made since he was here last time. As we have a commercial loan, our bank wants to get our property appraised on an annual basis.

As announced, and despite the rain, Nick, our super duper pooper scooper septic system excavooter, came by today with his little digger to do some probing of the septic site.

Things are moving ... :-)


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Entrance Trimming ...

After days of preparation, destruction, and painting, the first pieces of trim finally went up on the front entrance.

Lou, our favorite engineer, and Nick, our super duper septic scooper, were here today surveying the septic site. If things work out, and it doesn't rain tomorrow, Nick will be back with a mini excavator, and do some test digging.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Copycat ...

So we were listening to Marketplace on NPR this evening to a report about a restaurant in LA named Wurstk├╝che, and it was like listening to the business plan for Gunk Haus. Urgh, how dare they, copycats!!! This is serious competition, after all, LA is only a five hour flight away ... ;-)

We wish them well, though they shouldn't start crying when we start stealing their customers. Actually, they seem to do very well already, the annual sales number they mentioned left us teary eyed.

Let's dig in, and open up, we'll show 'em.

Work was a little slow today, I needed to make up my mind about how to rebuild the front of the main entrance. I am always slow at decision making, thinking through all possible alternatives, weighing pros and cons, and generally getting lost in the problem. The fact that I had only slept four hours last night didn't make things easier.

Aside from that my boiler meister Matt came by today to do some maintenance on our ancient, but perfectly well running, boiler, which should save us a few bucks on heating. For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, know that I think very highly of Matt (see this post). If any of you are in need of a boiler man, I can get you in touch.


Monday, September 14, 2009

The Onion ...

Have you ever pealed an onion, and taken layer and layer off of it until you hit the heart? Welcome to the bar floor. Although below picture doesn't give it credit, what you are looking at (from bottom, to the left, middle right) are a layer of vinyl flooring, plywood, vinyl flooring, plywood, vinyl flooring, 3/8 inch oak flooring, and not seen in the picture, the original plank flooring (I apologize if I missed a layer or two). We are talking about four inches of flooring material!!!

I stripped the entrance floor down to the original board flooring so that I would have a reference of height for the door frame. Here you see the plank flooring, along with a four-legged critter, which likes to hang by the door.

Aside from that the usual happened: Painting for E! and working on the entrance for me.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Picture Fest ...

I was lazy yesterday, and didn't post to the blog, which doesn't mean I wasn't working, in fact I was stupid enough to work on the front sill, although I told I wouldn't do that at all. It took a lot of chiseling the concrete to get the rotten piece of wood out of there ...

... and even more chiseling the get the new (pressure treated) piece in.

Install pressure treated plywood, patch the concrete ...

... install a sill, and let man's best friend guard the whole shabang.

All this happened yesterday, except for the last picture. Today I started working my way up. I took one of the windows out, because it was easier to do all the little things I needed to do ...

... put it back in, and covered the sides with plywood and housewrap (which is not seen in the picture).

I had hoped to be mostly done with preparing the front entrance, before E! is done painting the trim. I think I'm going to lose this race, because she is close to being done.

Here is the master, pardon, mistress, hard at work.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Slow Death By Drizzle ...

It hadn't rained in a while, but did it have to rain today, while I was trying to get some outside work done?! And it wasn't just any rain, it was that evil misty rain, which doesn't get you wet in minutes, but slowly soaks your clothes without you noticing.

I barely got anything done, and by 3:30pm I had it. There was no way I could continue. So I took a shower, and did some book keeping (I am working on May right now; yes, I am far behind).

E! was much busier, priming all the wood for the main entrance. Let's hope there isn't too much rain anymore, so that I will be ready when E! finishes painting the wood.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Solid Footing ...

I have to apologize upfront for being so busy that I didn't take the time to take a picture of E! today. She was scraping paint off the glass of the beer hall windows, which means she was twelve feet up in the air on a ladder she had setup herself, did I mention that this is on the downhill side of the beer hall, and you have to put boards under one side of the ladder, or else you go downhill with the ladder.

Can I hear a round of applause please!!! Er, lady, yes, you, third row, forth seat from the left, when you applaud you put your hands together like you're smacking flies, try again!!!

Speaking of busy, I was also too busy, or preoccupied, that I didn't even take pictures of my own work. I pretty much rebuilt the entire underbelly of the front entrance, with the exception of underneath the door, because the concrete is in the way (we're planning to remove the concrete step in front of the main entrance after we're open, and have time, and hopefully money, to repave the front of the house, maybe with brick, or pavers, or what have you). Anyhow, here's an intermediate shot, circa 1pm.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crown Jewel ...

E! doesn't get enough mentioning on this blog, so I start with her today. She has been scraping and painting, doors, windows, and trim. Here is the newly restored window next to the main entrance (if you don't remember how it looked like originally, here is a picture of it):

Speaking of main entrance, it is the one piece that still sticks out on the building, unfortunately not in a nice way:

Today I started the restoration. I always dreaded it, because I knew it would require extensive reconstruction, as can be seen in this picture (the wood at the bottom is all rotten due to exposure to water for too long, and possibly wood eating critters):

Off with the old, and in with the new (the wood at the bottom is now pressure treated, so the water and critters don't nibble away at it):