Screen Porch Construction

Construction on the screen porch is underway.  So far our two amish workers have successfully covered all the previously exposed blue foam under the porches and they have also wrapped the columns.  The front columns need to be rewrapped as they were originally wrapped to be just 6×6 and we need them to be 10×10.  The larger size wrap will be appropriate with the scale of the house.  The back porch columns are wrapped and they look great.  The frame work for the screen system is going in place as well.

I’ll install a Screen Tight system on our porch.

(Ugh, I hate WordPress at times, just lost my post for tonight.  When I insert pics they sometimes are missing their caption, then when I goto fix them the blog part disappears. Alas it’s too late for me to re-write so I’ll share my gallery for now and tell you more about the porch construction during my travels in the coming days.  Sorry.  Boo WordPress).

July 27th – Alright quick add on for this post regarding the porch. The carpenters removed several floor boards and put cement board over the blue foam that is insulating the rim joists of the house.  Since the boards were removed I crawled down there to caulk the fireplace base area once and for all.  You’ll remember that I had icicles growing in my fireplace cause super cold air was shooting between the cracks and freezing the warm interior air.  This caulking should fix it up just right.  Of course in trying to do so all I had been about 6″-8″ of vertical space.  This coupled with all the spiders, alive and dead, all over me and the dirt in my ear made this about as enjoyable as icing a cake in hell.  I think I got it all sealed up.

What else?  Trying to remember….inside the screen porch the top of the columns are larger than the skinny 4″ headers, so they’ll drop in a false header to visually beef things up.  Once it’s all done I’ll get it painted and then I’ll throw in the screen system myself.

Media Console Inside, Cutting Grass Outside

It’s nice to have a Saturday with nothing to do.  We actually got our weekend chores pretty much done this morning.  All we have left to do is clean off the porches so the workers can start finishing them on Monday.

Today I cut the “grass” for the first time.  Exactly one year and nine days since we first broke ground.  We really don’t have much grass but the weeds were getting tall and looking scraggly.  Our deer are doing a good job of eating the lawn plants but even they can eat them all so I fixed my not so trusty lawn mower first thing this morning and it fired up right away.  The front wheels of our Troy-Bilt fell off at the old house.  I tried to fix them last year but the nut that holds them in place is made from plastic.  It really is a horrific design.  I’ll never buy another Troy-Bilt as long as I live.  I fixed it this morning with some sheet metal and screws, fastening the screws below the axle so it could no longer fall out of its mount.  Cutting the grass was good for a photo and lots of dust.  But it does look better I must say.

I planted some black-eyed susans that a friend gave us.  They are from a lineage that includes the ones from our old house and can be seen in many of the wife’s artwork.  Will be nice seeing them just outside my studio door.

Inside I wrapped up setting all the stuff on the media stand we got from Pottery Barn.  We’re really happy with our Winslow Media Stand.  Our family room / dining room area is a decorators nightmare the way it is set up with the fireplace.  On one side is a large hutch for the dining room.  On the other side is the media center.  The unit we bought looks really nice and I don’t think we could have done a better job.  It has spacious storage and wide glass sliding doors for ease of access.  We have a ton of wires but the quality cutouts worked well and I even mounted the power strip on the wall.  That last task was tough cause I tried to drill into an HVAC duct, but I slid my mounting point over and found success while still keeping the wires and outlets hidden behind the tv.

I’m still battling bees outside, though I think I killed the wasps once and for all.  My face is still swollen though from Tuesday’s wasp incident.  I ventured into the tall grass even so I could tie up a small tree that had been knocked down during excavation, in an effort to get it growing back upright.

Ok, I’m going back to enjoying my Saturday with nothing to do.  Hope you are enjoying yours.


Update: Here’s a photo of the console shelf dimensions, in case you’re looking to pick one of these up and aren’t sure what will fit inside. As you can see I stack the cable box up top and movies below.  Also you can tell  we abhor dusting in our household.

Dimensions of the shelves on our Winslow Media Stand from Pottery Barn.

Dimensions of the shelves on our Winslow Media Stand from Pottery Barn.

Nature and Technology Fights Back

Tonight’s post comes to you via my phone cause modern technology hates me. We got a new media center to put the tv on. I knew I had to reroute the mess of wires on the floor in order to put the tv, router, DVD player, etc on and in the media center. With much dread and timidness I slammed the power off on the whole mess and unscrewed the cable from the wall. An hour later, with much help from a three year old electrical engineer and manically screaming one year old, I had everything reconnected.

Flipping the switch I was not surprised to find the modem flashing four lights repeatedly in a decidedly “not working / go f@ck yourself” manner. I unplugged the modem, the router, both, one another….I turned the modem upside down, wiggled it, licked it….nothing seemingly worked. My suspicions were confirmed upon trying to access the Internet.

No Internet service.

The cable works fine. Yes, if I didn’t mention it, we got cable last week. We broke down after I broke the tv antennae, which in turn reduced our tv reception to exactly zero stations. Cable is great. I now can watch guys wrestle alligators, learn how to die 1000 times over, and discover the ins and outs of buying million dollar houses.

So just like everything else, nothing is easy around here. And without internet I will now be forced to read, play with my kids or talk to my wife. This is a seriously horrific turn of events. I’ll send you the address to send your monetary donations.

This week when I wasn’t battling technology or binge drinking on a school night I was pissing mother nature off. The porch ceiling has proven to be a most attractive location for wasps to make nests. About four weeks ago I dispatched a golf ball sized nest. This week the wasps were back reconstructing their golf ball abode. I could have used the chemical wasp spray with its nossel that deals foamy death from twenty feet away to ruin my wasp friends’ day. Instead having just read the ‘Hunger Games‘ I decided knocking the nest with a pink yardstick would be the cooler way to go.

I shit thou not, as soon as my fushia sword contacted that nest two wasps shot off sideways and one made a beeline right for my head. Before I could even contemplate screaming like a little girl, my cheek was on fire and I was knocked backwards. I nearly punched myself out trying to get the freaking yellow and black monster off my face. Back peddling I glance to see the nest is down so I stumble towards the door, contorting my body in a convulsive manner only a middle aged white man could manage.

Scrambling into the house followed by a slamming door I frantically cry out to the wife. My face was burning. She quickly came to my rescue and assessed my injury. Upon closer examination she saw a shiny black stinger sticking out of my face. Tweezers in her hand, my skin pulling with the presumably barbed stinger, she picked it out. With the help of some peroxide and soap I was cleaned up. I patiently waited for my throat to close up and mercifully put an end to this nonsense but all I got is a swollen check.

From now on its toxic chemicals all the way.

Well next week the Amish guys come out and work on finishing the porches. We like our new media cabinet. And I get to continue installing cabinets. Soon we’ll be ready for guests to come over to drink our beer.

Still Working on Cabinets

Ok!  I finished installing the office area cabinets and all the studio cabinets are moved up into the wife’s studio.

Sonic tool makes cutting baseboard trim an easy job. I cut back all the trim to make room for the cabinet. I was able to reuse the shoe mold on the near side of the cabinet. By the way I got my sonic tool on sale for only $50 at Lowes or Home Depot.

I got to play with my new sonic tool to cut away the base boards where the office base cabinet was going.  Our base board is really tall so I had to notch it like the letter “L” where the side of the cabinet rose up and out beyond the toe kick.  The tool, I bought on sale for fifty bucks, oscillates a cutting blade back and forth and allows the user to make straight plunge cuts into wood.  Perfect for cutting trim in place.  Otherwise, without the tool, I’d be forced to remove the trim, cut it and then reinstall it.  Then I’d have to fill nail holes and repaint everything.  This tool saved me a ton of time and made the job easy.  Money well spent and the cheap version I got works just fine vs. spending $150 plus.  It even has adapters included to use other manufacturers attachments.

Dyson handheld is best vacuum ever I think. Makes quick clean up jobs a breeze. Better than the floor model Dyson we have which inexplicably broke.

After removing the trim we swept up the area, and even washed the floor.  No sense spending a lifetime thinking about the dirty floor under that one base cabinet.  I then installed the base cabinet.  I leveled it and ran two screws through the top nailing block into studs in the wall.   The cabinet was only fifteen inches wide so I was lucky I hit even one stud.  Not sure what you do if you can find a stud. I then recut the show mold as well as some new trim pieces to finish off the unsightly edges of the cabinet. Overall it was a simple job and looks good.  I’m not going to be a cabinet-maker or installer anytime soon, but it was a good exercise for me none the less.

Upstairs we moved all the cabinets we bought from Lowes for Christine’s studio.  Originally we were going to have two levels, one that was 29″ office height cabinets and then some 34″ kitchen height cabinets.  On one end I was going to fashion and access to the kneewall space but upon inspecting the wall cabinet I was going to use I decided a different course of action was advisable.  I was going to build a platform upon which to set the wall cabinet to make a fake base cabinet. Turns out that would be too short and I’d have to do a ton of trim work to make it all happen.  So now Lowes was nice enough to exchange our cabinet for a sink base which will make life easier for me.  I do have to oder an extra countertop as the old design won’t work but that’s okay.

Alright I’m going to sleep.  Elsewhere we’re plugging away at getting organized.  Catch ya later.

Base cabinet installed and trimmed out.

Space in cabinets is for a little fridge. Note shorter cabinets on left are office cabinets, around 29″ tall.

Studio cabinets waiting to be installed. We’ll have a small sink and even room for a fridge which will be great when working on artwork. Wife won’t have to go downstairs to get coffee, wash up after art projects or grab a snack.

The messes ebb and flow throughout the house. Right now the upstairs hall is straight out of an episode of “Hoarders”. The denies she has hoarder tendancies. I’ll keep my mouth shut.

Creative minds are seldom tidy. You can see our cool new IKEA desks and bookcase in the wife’s studio. She has a way to go to get organized. The new cabinets that I’m installing should help. In theory.

Cabinet Screws

So I finished the wall cabinets over my desk area yesterday.  I did learn through trial and error what works best for fastening the cabinets.  I also learned a few other things along the way.  Overall the cabinets look good.  The organizers went in with little fanfare.  The one stuck out two far so I sanded the back of the organizer to flush it up a bit before installing it.

Here are some pics with my comments, enjoy.

Stuff I’m Thankful For Today

Despite my general bitter, life sucks disposition, there are things I am thankful for today.  Actually there are a ton of things, many of which go without saying….wife, kids, beer, etc. that I am thankful for, but tonight I’ll mention a few that are top of mind and relevant to today.

  1. Nature (Animals) – “Baby deer! Baby deer!” my wife screamed out as I picked up the latest mess the boys made in the family room.  Looking over I saw nothing but as I approached the three large picture windows there they were: a momma doe and two spotted fawns meandering through our scrubby lawn.  We frantically grabbed cameras and the video camera.  The boys were enthralled watching the deer, our oldest taking his own photos.  At one point the one fawn was hell bent on checking out the tomato plants on our deck but thought better of it when we were spied peering through the porch door.  Nature around the house is phenomenal.  That’s the whole reason we moved here and we’re not being let down.  Just the other night after a long day at the art show we saw three of the fluffiest skunks you are ever likely to see playing in our driveway.  The plants and animals are oblivious to the fact that we’ve planted a 3,400 sq. foot house in their back yard.  We love every minute of it.
  2. Nature (Plants) – I did a tour of the land tonight, my watering can in hand.  Some of our baby trees died but many are surprisingly hanging on.  We’ve got a slew of oaks, a couple of maples and even a hazelnut that are doing well.   The black walnuts are over the top in how good they are doing.  There is a tree by the east berm that I thought was dead when it’s base was covered in excess soil.  Now it’s got leaves all over.  In the south lawn there’s a cherry tree though that looks like it has died.  We’ll see in the Fall or Spring if this is true.  Elsewhere little plants are growing everywhere including our lawn.  The previously barren east berm now looks like a miniature budding garden of Eden.  The sea of grasses throughout the property are solidly grown in and looking great.  The plants are finding a way despite all the disruption, heat and lack of rain.  Go plants!
  3. Home Grown Food – I picked a strawberry and took in on my walk this evening.  Look we’re not starting a farm anytime soon, but we did grow a baby strawberry so it’s a start.
  4. 10″ Window Sills – We have so much crap everywhere there is nary an open square foot to place stuff down on.  The window sills we have created a previously unknown source of storage and convenience.  If you’re building or remodelling, I recommend 10″ window sills emensly.
  5. Free Time – Art shows are done for the year, for me at least, so now I’ve got nothing but time to start getting my “to do” list done.  Stuff like finish installing the cabinets, organize the garage, fix the lawn mower, spend time with the boys and wife…maybe even work on some new art at my leisure; all these things were being neglected.  Now I have the rest of the year to work on stuff I want to work on.

Alright, I’m tired.  Talk to ya later.  Here are today’s pics.

Help Wanted

So I’ve got time to kill because the whole idea of selling art isn’t as lucrative as it seems in the movies. As I sit in the now cool, thank god, temperatures of a Sunday morning art show I can reflect on the utter frustration, disappointment and bitterness tradesmen have instilled in me. I still can’t find anyone to pay to finish our porch and other assorted projects. It’s made me I’ll and pissed off. Actually what pisses me off the most is that I have a pile of wood sitting in my yard going to waste. A member of the family ordered $2,000 worth of lumber and there it sits weathering away, since they bailed on completing the job. I barely even want that crap on my house at this point and will probably be forced to buy new material if and when I ever find someone to work the job.

I’ve been begging a trusted contractor to give me a quote but I’ve seen nothing after three weeks. Now I have to cold call and take my chances with a stranger who will do who knows how good a job. I don’t know what I did to piss everybody off but its remarkably sucky that this is how my friends and family treat me. Maybe I’m overly sensitive. Maybe it’s too much to ask that someone, anyone, please take my money in exchange for using my lumber to finish my porches.

I have a laundry list of electrical work that needs to be done too but can’t get anyone for that too. The electricians that worked on the house were suspect at best and then I was forced to shun them eternally when they threw a tantrum at the end of the job.

Which leads me to an even greater level of frustration. Everyone bitches about the economy but here I am, I piss away my existence making a decent buck, I shouldn’t have to literally beg people to take my money.

Maybe I live in a fantasy world and am unrealistic. Maybe this is how it’s supposed to work and I just need to take my medicine and pay the man. This may all be true but I don’t have to like it.

If you know anyone in northeast Ohio that wants work let me know, apparently no one I know needs my money.

P.S. So this guy comes by my art booth and we get to talking. He’s a tradesman so I ask him if he knows anyone he can recommend to bid on our job. He kinda laughed and said he doubts anyone would want to work on the project but he’d check around. Wow what an awesome country we live in. I’m just looking for a couple columns to be trimmed out and our vaunted blue collar workforce wants to bitch about the economy AND pass on paying jobs. FML.

Cabinets and Whatnot

Sorry I’m not posting as often.  We’re in the thick of a couple of art shows so I’m scrambling to get art done, get stuff done around the house, and work my regular job.  Oh and attempt to maintain my sanity while minimizing my dependence on alcohol.

I promise once this art show is done, I’ll post more often, work on my “honey do” list, pick up a golf club and maybe even go to church on Sundays.  Until then you’ll have to live vicariously via old posts, while the wife trips over empty cabinets, my clubs collect dust, and god solves crossword puzzles while, patiently, waiting for me to show up fashionably late.

When I’m not battling the 90 degree heat and the worst drought in recent memory I’ve been spending my free time working on art as I said, but also working on hanging the cabinets we got from Lowes.  There’s an office area in my studio that we can wait to get cabinets into.  This will go a long way to getting us organized.  I can’t stress enough, if you are building or remodeling a home, go for it and install all your storage up front.  We always make the mistake of saving stuff to finish off later in an effort to save money.  Even if you do it right after you move in or do it yourself to save a couple bucks, install storage and organization stuff as soon as you can.  We have mail, computers, bills, etc. strewn all over the freaking place.  Our ultra contemporary kitchen looks like a hoarders paradise.  Granted the dish drying rack from Wal-Mart isn’t helping the situation but we won’t talk about that…

I’m slowly making progress assembling the cabinets and hanging them.  The wife is a huge help in lifting the cabinets in place.  I’m not to worried about nicking the walls, eventually they’ll be painted.  I don’t have the pictures in front of me but I learned a lot about cabinet screws, especially which ones to use and which ones not to.  I’ll share with you soon I promise.  It also pays to have a table saw; ripping down filler boards is tough with a regular hand power saw.  I bought an inexpensive sonic tool to cut the baseboards so I can tell you bout that after I use that.

I’m excited to finish the first batch of cabinets but they’ll have to wait until after the art show.

Outside the drought is killing us figuratively but our water supply is holding and our plants are mostly surviving.  I’ve given up on the baby trees and grass.  Nature will have to bear that life and death scenario out herself.  Average temps are in the 90’s for about a week and a half now.  We’ve set the “air conditioning” to 72 degrees, now raised to 74 degrees.  I’m not sure how often it’s cycling on and off, but the house seems to hold temperature and repel heat.  Generally speaking no direct sun enters the house this time of year, even in the large south-facing windows.  I just paid an electric bill and we averaged 1,000 KW hours in June and July bills.  In the old house we maxed out around 600 KWh per month, so I’ll have to keep an eye on energy usage.  There are probably several culprits: the high temps, more light usage (esp. incandescent bulbs), and we’ve probably got the house set pretty low.  Also our water and sewer systems run on electric across the board so there’s probably more overall load than at the old place. The usage I was looking at at the old house was also just for two of us.  So the moral is we’ll have to wait and see.

Ok, back to working on art.  Catch ya later.

wall cabinets clamped and screwed together, ready for hanging.









This is what an art show looks like.