Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ex-Excavation ...

After we got our new septic system approved yesterday, it was time to say goodbye to the mounds of dirt, and hello to a nicely graded lawn, which we still need to seed (hopefully the grass takes before it gets really cold).

Work for us was the same as yesterday: E! painted, and I worked on the biergarten door (it needs a new threshold and frame, which I'll install tomorrow).


Friday, October 30, 2009

All Pumped Up ...

It was an exciting day today: The loafer man was to descent upon Gunk Haus from his Valhalla (department of sanitation) and inspect our brand spanking new septic system.

I wish I could give you the gossip of the goings on at the site, but E! and I knew better, and left the loafer man alone with Lou, our trusty engineer, and Nick, our super duper pooper scooper septic system excavooter. You see, the loafer man is a prima donna, and he loves an audience, not today, dude.

What is important to us, and hopefully you, is that our septic system was approved. I am certain there was a lot of dancing, and singing songs of glory, but we will never know.

E! was knaughty today, priming the window and door trim, trying to cover all the knots so they don't show their faces again, ever!!!

For me it was out with new and in with the old. I tackled the biergarten door, finally fitting the old door, and removing the new one (or was it the other way around).

Unfortunately this isn't the end of it: Removing the old door revealed more work, but that's for tomorrow.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Preparation Stage ...

There wasn't much exciting work to report of today. It was all about preparing for exciting work, and subsequently exciting news and pictures.

E! spent the day refurbishing windows, sanding the frames (in preparation for painting), and replacing broken glass, while I routed the wood for window and door trim.

I picked up the first batch of drywall for the Stube, which we'll install as soon as we have a rainy day, or we run out of outdoor work.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oh Boy, No Low Boy ...

We meant to go on another road trip today, but we didn't. Actually we did, but in the opposite direction, and not as far.

But let's start from the beginning. E! came across an internet restaurant auction, which featured a piece of equipment she had been lusting for, called a low boy, a counter high refrigerator with a worktop. This particular one was eight feet long, and would have fit perfectly in our kitchen.

Unfortunately, the low boy was located in Cincinnati, OH, which is almost eleven hours away. Undeterred we put all the ducks in a row, reserving a trailer, borrowing our neighbors' car (which has a hitch), making arrangements for visiting family along the way, and most importantly, stock up on junk food for the road.

Last night then we sat at the computer, and punched in our bids, up to our walk-away price, and we were outbid.

So, we made a few quick calls to call it all off, and got up as usual this morning. We didn't get much work done, as we spent half the day getting material, and as it was a dreary day anyway (it rained, a lot), we decided to go grocery shopping.

Tomorrow we should get our drywall in, which I ordered for the Stube (our private dining room), so soon you'll see some major changes.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Drained Agony ...

It was good that I slept on the basement drain pipe, because when I looked at it this morning I recognized a problem with the layout I had left off with. But at long last I started connecting the pieces, and now I am pleased with it.

Notice in the picture how nice and organized all the pipes and wires are, unlike when we bought Gunk Haus.

I reinstalled the window sashes in the main entrance, which E! had beautifully restored.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Foresight ...

I was working in the basement today preparing for the water softener we have to install, because the water in our new well is harder than in our old well, which we had to abandon, because it didn't meet the 100 foot separation requirement to the new leech field we had to install as part of our new septic system (totally oversized, not to mention that the dude at the health department wanted us to get a permission from the county to bore under the county road in case we would have to use what you know as our garden as the backup reserve, in case the current leech field fails, which may happen in 50 years, but I don't think the county would issue a permit that is good for 50 years), for which we had to demolish the cottage next to Gunk Haus, which robbed us of our sole income.

But I digress. I was in the basement to install a drain pipe for the water softener, which meant I was installing the drain pipe for the water softener, the bar sink, the tap system, and the ice maker as well.

You already sense where this is going. Although I only need the drain for the water softener right now, because the other things aren't being installed until a little later in the year (or beginning next year), I had to think ahead what else ties into the drain pipe, and where.

That alone wasn't enough, because I realized that unless I want redo some work in the (possibly near) future, I also should think about how the basement will be laid out in the long term.

I thought I had a good idea, cut the pipes and put them together, look at it and realized that it's a bunch of bull crap. Granted, that is exaggerated, but I wasn't pleased (did I mention before that I am a perfectionist?).

I guess what threw me off was that I realized that when I had Jeff do the water distribution system, I should have moved it to a different location in the basement. To my defense, we didn't know back then that we had to get a new well, which would feed the water from the opposite end of the building.

So I started anew, but it was towards the end of the day, and I decided to sleep on it, and see how it looks like tomorrow (I am hoping for the little elves to sneak in over night and finish the job).


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pick Your Poison ...

We had a somewhat relaxed weekend with not much work, but sometimes that's a good thing.

We were invited to the Ness Castle (or Dungeon, or maybe both) yesterday for their annual Halloween Party, and as always E! had great costume ideas (although I admit turning some down). We ended up going as swine flu and swine flu vaccination: Pick your Poison!

Thanks Gia and Rick for hosting. See what fun we had:

We were at E!'s sister today, carving pumpkins, and boy do they look scary!


Friday, October 23, 2009

More Equipment ...

We picked up another piece of equipment today, a prep sink, which will live in the dish station. Now wait a second, you say, don't you already have a three-bay-sink in the dish station?! Yes, of course, and we don't really need a prep sink, but we have to put one in, because the health department says so. Oh all those things we do for the health department, remember the new septic system that is currently being dug behind our house, for which we had to take the cottage down (remember the cottage?). Anyhow, we now have a prep sink, and that is that.

On a different note, our neighbor and apple farmer Billiam has been nominated for Hottest Farmer on the Huffington Post's Green Pages. So go to this website, and vote for him!!!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Floater ...

Nick, our super duper pooper scooper septic system excavooter, is getting close to having the septic system all excavooted and installed. Today his subcontracting electrician stopped by to hook up the pump and pump controls.

As our septic system is on a slope and the septic tank is at the bottom, the septic water flows into a pump chamber, and from there it is pumped up the hill. The pump in the pump chamber is controlled by three float switches: The lowest turns the pump off, the middle float turns it on, and the top float rings the alarm bell (I apologize to all our neighbors in advance, if we happen to wake you up at 2am, because the pump fails).

In the picture below you see the distribution box, where the water is pumped to.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where Did The Day Go? ...

One of those days again: You buzz around, go here and there, do a little this and that, and at the end of the day nothing happened.

What happened? We installed a little bit of trim on the front entrance, I cut some glass, which E! caulked into place, made some calls, did some research, and the day was over.

On some days I feel like a zombie with tunnel vision.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frameboy ...

Right below the electrical meter box outside the main entrance is a metal plate, and underneath is a hole ...

... a deep hole!!! I didn't measure it, but most likely it's about ten feet deep, and six to seven feet in diameter. From the looks of it there are only two possibilities: It was a cistern, or a septic tank. I vote for the latter.

E! was busy stripping the window sashes for the windows in the main entrance.

And last not least I finally built a screen for the makeup air louvers to the kitchen, it's supposed to keep evil rodents and other critters out ... we'll see how that works.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Is The Old Worth Saving? ...

Ever since we bought Gunk Haus we have been faced with the question as to what to keep, and what to toss out.

The following picture shows a good example: Door trim, painted plaster, hardwood flooring.

All these things are old, but none of them are original. So are they worth saving? The answer is: It depends.

The three items mentioned above were most likely installed by the Sevillos (their daughter still lives in Clintondale), who acquired the place in the 1930s, and opened an Italian restaurant called The Hollywood Bar & Grill.

The plaster, though intricately painted, has lost its key in many places, and has been patched and painted over in many areas as well.

The door trim isn't in that great a shape either, it would take a lot of paint to turn the brown into yellow, and the style would be different from what the trim looks like throughout the rest of the restaurant.

The hardwood floor is only 3/8 inch thick, is only used in the bar area, where it is covered by some sort of tar paper, which gummed it all up.

They all will make their way into the dumpster.

Here is a picture of a keeper: The future door to the Biergarten. E! spent days refurbishing it, and today I realized that it is not the door that used to fill the frame (which is also not original, but we'll keep it), because it is almost three inches too short, and the hinges don't fit the frame.

So, we'll spend a few more hours to lengthen the door, caulk and paint it, to get rid of the modern door that's in its place right now.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday, Gunk Haus ...

It was two years ago to the day that we closed on Gunk Haus. It has been a long journey since. I just spent half an hour browsing through old pictures, which there are too many to post, but I'll share a few random ones with you.

Although the winter of 2007 - 08 wasn't as cold or snowy as last winter, it felt a lot worse, most likely because we didn't have the first floor insulated yet. We made what used to be the community kitchen for the previous tenants our own, after removing several grease encrusted stoves and cockroach carcass littered cabinets.

The kitchen did not have any heat, which I found out after tracing the heat lines in the basement, not an easy task, because the basement ceiling looked like a plate full of spaghetti. I subsequently replaced all the copper pipes with PEX, which is a lot easier to work with, less prone to leaks (on the first day we took possession we found a pin hole leak in the main water line), and survives freezing unharmed (it actually happened that first winter, the affected line is still active, and has not leaked a drop).

You could see exposed pipes all over the place. Here a look what used to be, and is again today, the pass (between kitchen and wait station). The big pipe in the picture is the drain for our bathroom.

A more recent shot shows the beer hall while it was insulated last summer. This was only a few weeks before I started this blog (sometimes I wish I had done so earlier, but that's water under the bridge).


Friday, October 16, 2009

Refrigerator Shuffle ...

We spent most of the day flipping and turning refrigerators, and moving them to the back of the house. The biggest challenge was getting them through the door, because they were too high. So we flipped them on their side, pushed them through the door, threw them on their back (because the ceiling is too low to raise them sideways), and raised them back up.

All this cleaned out a lot of space, especially in the bar and the Stube. Speaking of, here are two pictures of the Stube, which is going to be our private dining room.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15 ... IT SNOWED!!! ...

I have to admit, I was in denial for a few hours, until I had to go outside and run errands. It's less than a month into Fall, and it snowed (IT SNOWED!!!). About one inch accumulation so far, ACCUMULATION, not a few lost snow flakes on their way to the North Pole, accumulation!!!

One of the beauties of having a blog is that you can go back in time, and see what happened, say, October 15 last year: We were painting the outside in rather gorgeous weather!!!

Coincidentally, but completely independent of the weather, work was sluggish today as well. E! didn't feel so well, and did some office work. I started various door related projects, and failed. At the end of the day, all I had accomplished was putting wheels on a freezer, and doing a little plumbing.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Die Stube ...

We are moving towards completion, and today E! started tackling the Stube, our private dining room. Until today it had a dividing wall split it into two. Not anymore.

Unfortunately none of the pictures turned out well, but I'll show one anyway: The mistress taking a swing at ... nothing ... ok, staged photos don't always work so well.

I poured a concrete foundation for the water softener in the basement, not exciting, but necessary.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Road Trip ...

Although we were working hard as every day (E! is working on another window, I am preparing for the installation of a water softener), we cut today short.

E! had found a good deal on china on Craig's List. The package included a whopping 954 pieces!!! Plates, cups, saucers, etc.

So we packed a few snacks, and headed to East Greenville, PA, a mere 170 miles away. We liked what we saw, and closed the deal. Then we packed the car, and saw the rear wheels slowly disappear in the wheel wells. Close to a 1000 pieces of dishes are HEAVY!!! But we made it home safe.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Kehraus ...

Now that we are nearing the completion of our renovation efforts (granted, we're still miles away ... but ... we're getting closer), it was time to clear out things and materials that have accumulated over time. I admit, I am a gatherer, but while we're under construction I'd like to keep things around, because they will come in handy at some point (I have used so many little pieces of wood for all sorts of tasks).

Nevertheless, the last two days we started clearing and cleaning things out, which doesn't necessarily mean that we threw them away, but that we found a new, more fitting (and sometimes permanent) place. This is especially true for the kitchen and dish station equipment, which now can go where it's slated to go.

Our septic system is coming along well, too. I didn't count today, but we must have almost 15 of the 24 laterals completed.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Trench War ...

Nick, our super duper pooper scooper septic system excavooter, was very busy today. He has nine of the 24 laterals installed. Granted, there isn't much to see, and the site looks more like a war zone, but the septic system is shaping up.

E! worked on annoying paperwork for the health department, for which we have to produce detailed plans, describing where things go, what size they have, what materials they are made of, all in all something an architect would do. I don't need an architect, because I have archE!tect.

I finally finished the parking lot light installation. Actually it's only the temporary installation, because we want to see first how it looks, how bright it is, what area it illuminates, and whether it blinds cars coming around the Verizon building.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Rain, Check! ...

So it was raining today, and I just couldn't finish the parking lot light. Hopefully tomorrow.

A good day to do inside work, like further arranging the kitchen and dish station, building a board for the pass (that's where the food comes out of the kitchen), and other little stuff.

Nothing exciting, sorry.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Falling Into Place ...

E! was very busy wrapping up the dish station and kitchen, and today was the big day: The range came off the dolly! Huh what?! We had the range on a dolly ever since we got it, because it weighs several hundred pounds and is therefore a pain in the butt to move around. Today it was put into its final resting place (it might still move a few ticks this way or the other, but it is put for now).

I was poised to finish the parking lot lighting, but it didn't happen. Mike, our electrician, had always complitched about cheap light fixtures, and now I know why: they're pain in the butt to install.

So instead of a shot of the light fixture, you get a picture of the view the light fixture will have once its installed.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Vinyl ...

We were installing vinyl cove molding in the dish station and the kitchen today, not that we're particularly thrilled about that, but the health department has some requirements regarding cleanability, and the vinyl is a cheap and easy way to satisfy the (wanna-be) gods at the health department.

Did I say easy? I meant pain in the buttocks!!! Just look at this picture.

This isn't a Joseph Beuys installation, it is the desperate attempt to keep the vinyl up on the wall!!! But when it's all done, it sure looks pretty ...

... and after you put some furniture in front of it, nobody cares anymore that you wasted an entire day on that @$%#$!!!

By the way, I was soooo happy this evening to have the sink back in place, and be able to do dishes. I don't want to create the impression that I live for doing dishes, and it isn't actually about the dishes, but having the sink out of the kitchen again, and not having to go to the bathroom to get water or attempt to wash your mug in the hand sink.

Nick, our super duper pooper scooper septic system excavooter, installed the first leech field lateral today. That is exciting.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

E! Sparkles ...

After having resurfaced the dish station floor, it was time to seal it, which E! did according to health department recommendation: Use concrete paint, and throw sparkles onto it. The sparkles don't actually sparkle and shine, but that's not important. The reason we were told to put them on is so that we'd know when the floor needs repainting (because the sparkles rub off with the paint).

Myself I engaged in a favorite pastime of mine: Digging a trench. This one's a shallow one, but it is the longest so far, somewhere between 120 to 150 feet. We are installing lighting on one of our trees to illuminate the parking lot, and the wire needs to be buried at least four inches deep (I am shooting for six inches, I tend to over engineer). I was briefly considering stringing the wire on poles, but that wouldn't be visually appealing, plus it would be more expensive (the poles, pressure treated 4x4, aren't cheap), and digging the holes for the poles wouldn't reduce the workload.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Le Chat Gris ...

As on most mornings I went down to the basement to read the water meter this morning, except today, I looked straight into the eyes of a cat. We don't have a cat, in fact, we have a dog who hates cats.

The cat had come in through a (larger) opening, which used to be an old window. That kind of did it for me, the opening had to be fixed (it had been on my radar for a while, but it wasn't high on my list.

Regardless, I set out to fix the problem. You frame out the area ...

... and you slap on some plywood. Easy peasy.

E! was busy resurfacing the dish station floor. The health department wouldn't like all the nooks and crannies in the floor, as they could harbor all sorts of nasty critters.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Bunker Buster ...

Now that we are all tied into the new septic tank, the old one was ready to go. Not that it was much to talk of in the first place, come on, look at the size of it!!! Our bath tub is bigger than that!!!

Nick, our super duper pooper scooper septic system excavooter, had no problems pulling it up.

I am happy to report that Mike, our favorite electrician, stopped by to help us get ready for our final electrical inspection on Monday. As always, Mike, thank you, we love you, but you knew that.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pooper Scooper ...

You know how I always call Nick our super duper pooper scooper septic system excavooter. Truth be told, he actually isn't a pooper scooper, that is a job he contracts out. We had our old septic tank pumped today, so that it can be removed to make space for the bigger and larger septic system.

Now that the two tanks are installed, the work on the leach field can begin. For this, Nick hauled in a lot of rock, a mountain of rock.

We, meanwhile, installed the molding on the front entrance, and E! was really, really busy finishing painting the front of the house. We want to have the front of the house look really nice by Saturday, because that's when the Clintondale School reunion is. I am sure I have mentioned before that across the street from Gunk Haus, where we have our parking lot, and the garden (oh, the garden), there used to be the Clintondale school.