House Week 18, 19, and 20: Lightening the Load, a Solid Footing, and Lots of little Plastic bits

We are moving right along.  Apparently moving along so well in fact that fate decided we should slow down.  Last Sunday morning i arrived at the crime scene (= my house) to find that someone had decided we had too many power tools so they would help us out by taking them away for us at no charge!  They were so considerate that they even did it at night so that we would not have to be bothered moving all of those silly boxes around when we were ready to start the work day. Damn those frelling bastards!  I mean, really?  Steal from the girl who is completely broke and has owned a house for seven months that she still can’t live in?  That’s just mean!

Well said jerks took all of Dad’s power tools, the paint sprayer, and the gas powered generator that all of the tools run off of so needless to say Sunday wasn’t very productive once the police left.  I was impressed with the Berkeley Police department; they actually dusted for finger prints!  I mean wow, it’s not like i lost 10K worth of stuff.  Also they were nice, friendly, and even helpful.  Also i got to meet my “beat cop”.  I guess he drives around my neighborhood 4 nights a week.  It’s always nice to get to be on good terms with the local law enforcement; makes those “the music is too loud at 4am” interactions so much smoother.

Once the important tools were replaced work proceeded.  Actually a lot of work proceeded.  Mom was up for the weekend and managed to strip 8 layers of paint off of the original window jamb for the living room.  It’s amazing what that woman can do with paint remover.  We also managed to get a lot of odds and ends wrapped up that had been lingering.  Things like corrections to the vent piping for the bathroom and adding missing electrical wires rounded out the weekend.

Last Tuesday i braved an inspection all by myself!  Yea!  I even understood 99% of what the corrections were from the inspector.  I am truly filling my head with building knowledge, wonder how long i will retain it?  Well the corrections were what this weekend was spent fixing.  Two basic items: a) “Nail” the floor, apparently 3,000 screws are not going to hold it in place during an earthquake; b) “Make up” the electrical boxes.  This means put all of the appropriate wires together for each box, which “appropriate” changes depending upon the type of switch/outlet/and interaction location.  Lots of referring to the pretty pictures for how this stuff is supposed to go together.

Floor Nailing – Now while this is actually a fairly easy and straight forward task when you have a framing nail gun this is a time consuming pain if you have different ages and dryness of wood that you will be shooting the nails into.  The newer non dry wood doesn’t readily take the nails as well as the original wood for the house, and since i have to have the nails at the surface of the floor as best as possible this means setting the nail gun at it’s minimum penetrating depth so i don’t occasionally go through the floor.  Also this means that about 50% of the nails placed in the floor using the gun will not drive fully into the wood so they must be gone back over with a hammer.  So one room is about 30 minutes nailing and an hour hammering.  This floor is never going a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e!!!

Wk 18, 19, 20: Nails that just don't want to go

Piggy Tails!  I am really enjoying the electrical wiring.  I get to strip wires (easy and painless), follow different diagrams for different parts and trouble shoot the best way to get everything connected for the proper hot flow, and i get to stick little plastic holdy bits onto the wires to complete circuits.  Here are some examples of my electrical fantasticness.  This week i get to figure out the remaining 3-way lights, smoke alarms, and my doorbell!

Wk 18, 19, 20: Simple Light Can   Wk 18, 19, 20: Ridicilous Switch Box

Daydreaming about Plants

So i buy this house so that i can reap the benefits of being a home owner.  Things like determining what color of house i want to live in, when *i* want to mow the lawn, and what i get to plant on my land … right?  Well someday.  While i am still in progress of re-building the house part the garden part has had to go on hold.  Which is mildly driving me insane.  I was super excited that i was going to be in my house for the summer so i could start one of the awesome vegetable gardens i see on all my friends blogs, but it’s September and i’, still in a duplex.  Oh well, the time will come and so i’ve decided to get prepared!
I love the East Bay Nursery!  The staff is knowledge, silly, and super helpful.  I took one leaf from a tree that is in my new backyard to try and find out what i am inheriting.  After two people rubbed, sniffed, and poked the single leaf i was informed it was a walnut and given 15 minutes of do’s and don’t about walnuts in the bay area … awesome!  Since this is currently as close as i can get to the level of Disneyland bliss within 10 minutes of my home many a Friday afternoon have been spent wandering the aisles thinking about what the grounds of my home really need.
So far here are the highlights:
  • Herb Garden
  • Apple Tree
  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Bamboo
  • Veggies, Veggies, Veggies
After a few trips i think i have most of the basics figured out.  Staples like what to put on the front of the house under the bedroom windows (Rhododendrons) and can there be too many kinds of mint (no!) have been quick to answer mostly due to the beautiful selection of plants available at the nursery.  Also Google Maps has been super helpful to allow me to get an aerial view of my home that i was able to drop into illustrator and play around with “what goes where”.  More on the layout in the coming weeks as things get more solidified.
Here are a couple of the different items i found while being lost in the nursery that could be totally awesome to look at on a re-occurring basis around my home…
IMG_0790   IMG_0792   IMG_0797
IMG_0794   IMG_0796   IMG_0804
Slightly Uprights
IMG_0802   IMG_0805
I originally only had Blueberries in mind but it could be pretty awesome to grow my own Goji berries…

House Week 16 & 17: Something you can stand on

Yep, the last two weeks of house-ness have been weekends only and yet somehow tons of progress has been made!  Week 16 was marathon insulation week.  The first batch of floor insulation we brought home and worked our way through before the end of the first weekend.  The rest of the floor insulation was delivered last Friday.  This stuff takes up TONS of space.  Below is about a third of the 2/3’s that was delivered.  This stuff is spun lava rocks, crazy the “green” things you can find today.  Supposedly it will never catch fire or hold moisture, not bad!

House Wk 16: a third of the floor insulation out on the lawn

I spent two days doing nothing but placing small metal wires between floor joints, cutting insulation the correct width/length, and placing it in the floor.  Oddly it was one of the most meditative things i’ve done all year AND i really enjoyed myself.  Well … i had fun until i got home that night and discovered i am allergic to the insulation and had rashes up my forearms.

House Wk 16: the wire thingy's   House Wk 16: Insulation!!!

The parental units arrived last Saturday morning to help give me some grounding … i got (most) of my floor!  Well kinda floor, i now have the plywood that makes up my subfloor through most of the house so there should be less falling through the floor occurring. 

House Wk 17: Down goes the floor over the insulation   House Wk 17: A Bedroom floor

There is something to be said about the joys of having a floor on a raised foundation home, especially when you have been without one for nearly six months.  The old saying that you only truly appreciate what you have once it’s gone rings so true here, who knew how much i could love plywood : )

Week 18 Goals are to finish the electrical, go back to stripping (paint!), and to finish the remaining few messes from the contractors.