I started my day off with grounds in my coffee, moved on to some emails being ignored, and then went to the basement to try and put some ceiling tiles up that should have been done two years ago. The ceiling tiles started, because I wanted them out of the garage where they were both taking up space and expecting to get destroyed with all the moving and shuffling going on out there. I had intended to put up the ceiling after the drywall was done, but screw it. They’re up now. I’ll work around ’em.

Doesn’t look like that big a deal. Am I right? It was not much fun, but I was listening to Artemis by Andy Weir while I worked. Nothing like a little corporate sabotage on the moon to take your mind off your troubles. I need to raise that trim on the door. Stupid ceiling.

There is a main drain that runs about a quarter inch above the face of the grid along the wall there. And there is some plumbing and a gas line as well. Oh, and there are like three full tiles… everything else needed to be cut. All of these things made this a bit trickier than it should have been. But I got it done and I hope I never have to replace any of those tiles, because about half of them were a pain-in-my-ass to get in place.

Once that was done I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some doritos for lunch, like I’m in 4th grade, and went back out to the garage. I decided to order drywall for the walls. I ordered 12-foot sheets from Menards, because that’ll mean less seams and because Home Depot couldn’t deliver that to me until May 8th. Should be here tomorrow. But because it’s supposed to be here tomorrow I need to get the other wall cleared off. Unfortunately, I’m running out of floor space to put things. Fortunately, I have a van in my driveway that gets almost no real use.

Well, it’s full of garage stuff now. Hopefully, things I will not need anytime soon. But don’t be fooled, the garage is still a mess of stuff and I’m not done yet. At this point I can’t imagine a scenario wherein I get this stuff put back where it belongs for months. And because I know you were worried about the whole email thing. I received a reply tonight, just about 7:30. Timely. We’re shooting for Friday to do the work. Now all I have to do is arrange the access. Nothing to it. Later.

I had no work again today. There are a couple things in my que, but they would not be considered ’emergencies’ and until I hear otherwise, those are the only things I’m supposed to be doing. So, knowing that I need to get back on the home project wagon, I started thinking about where to start. Which unfinished project most needs to be completed.

As I ran through my list I kept coming back to the same situation; if I do X, then I will need to do Y in the garage. The garage as workshop is more and more a thing as less and less of the basement is available for such things. Now the problem is that right now the garage is a mess and there’s twenty-four bundles of insulation taking up the floorspace. I needed to get that insulation out of the way, but there is no place to put it. Which means, in order to get it off the floor, I need to put it in the walls.

Like I said, everything keeps pointing back to this project. This itchy, nasty project. So that is what I started today.

I managed to get one wall insulated, which isn’t terribly impressive. But most of the time was moving things out of the way. That one wall was pretty full. All the rakes, shovels, and yard implements were hung on that wall. There were two tall cabinets full of tools and parts mounted on that wall and a tall stack of drawers (also full of tools) in the corner. And there were two small workbenches on that wall, both cluttered with tools and parts. And best of all, most of the exposed wall was covered with pegboard and the pegboard was hung with even more tools. I had to move all that stuff just to get to the wall. I kinda ran out of places to put things.

Now that the insulation is up, I need to sheet that wall with something–drywall or OSB–probably drywall. Which means I need to get to the home center and buy some board. Which means I need to figure out where any outlets are going to be and wire those in, which means I’ll be doing more mudding, taping, and sanding. Which means… this is going to take a bit more than one day.

A question: Is there any reason I should not put a drop ceiling in the garage? My ceiling space is not useful for storage, as I only have 2×6 rafter ties up there and they are 4-foot on center. If I wanted to do storage, I’d have to frame in some sort of ceiling. That seems like a lot of work and I would need to consult someone about how to best do that sort of project. I’m thinking a drop ceiling with some insulation laid on top of it would be a more practical solution. Any thoughts?

Today, was a beautiful, sunny, fifty degree day here in Grand Rapids. Yesterday, was not too shabby either. It makes me impatient for spring to get here. I took advantage of the weather to straighten up the garage, get rid of some scrap, and put the finishing touches on my new lawn tractor.

I arranged a pick-up of a bunch of stuff I just wanted gone, using a scrapper that I found on Facebook, Elite Scrap Metal Pickup. Which cleared that busted patio furniture off my deck, a couple file cabinets out of my basement, got rid of the metal sled that my lawn mower came on, and a bunch of other metal bits and bobs that I felt were cluttering up my life. The guy showed up with a pickup and a trailer, loaded it all up, and made it all disappear. Nice guy, too. I’m very glad to have the stuff gone, to have not had to pay to get rid of the stuff, and to have had to do little more than collect all the stuff into a pile. Really worked out for me. Hopefully, it worked out for him as well.

As I mentioned earlier, I finished putting together my lawn mower. Which means, basically, I put the front bumper on and assembled the bagging assembly. I also took time to break down the boxes and clean up the mess around the initial delivery and assembly, which took place when it was significantly less than 50-degrees outside. I love the way this thing looks like a gokart, what with the tube frame and tiny tires. The battery came charged, which was nice, and the rest of the assembly was pretty simple and straight forward. I would go so far as to say that getting it off the shipping frame was the worst part of that. Mostly because I was doing it in the cold, at night, in a cold dark garage.

electric riding mower with bagger assembly

Check out the charger sitting on the corner of the work bench there. That thing has a serious heat sink built on to it. I realized after putting this all together, that the extra blades that came with the bag kit were different than the default blades… I didn’t bother changing them out, because, I don’t really think I’ll be doing a lot of bagging. I’m a fan of the mulching mower… it’s less work.

Also, I haven’t really had a chance to test the limits of my snow blower, but I have used it three or four times to clear the driveway. Never more than an inch of snow. But I was happy to see when I checked that even after 4 uses, the battery still had one bar on the charge indicator. I could probably have run it one more time, but I decided to throw the battery on the charger.

snow blower vs van. ready. fight.

Never having had a snow blower before, I was completely surprised by the amount of snow that blows back on you when you throw that stuff up in the air. I guess, sacrifices must be made for saving my back.

In short, I love trash pick up and I’m happy with my big purchases to this point. That’s it for today, I’ve got to go practice guitar. Later.

My garage is a pretty miserable place most of the year. In the summer it’s +100°F warmer than the outside temperature and has no breeze, even on the windiest of days. In the winter it’s -30°F colder. Basically, it’s comfortable to work in there about 6-days a year. I have a box fan that I’ve been using for the last 3-4 years to move the air and provide the illusion of temperature control, but I decided to add some ceiling fans and wired up a couple of fan boxes into the rafters. Two years later… I found these 56-inch fans at Menards for $40 a piece. I was going to get something at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, but these are probably a better option.

They come with the down rod installed, and I chose to leave that in place for this first one. I may change that. It’s 8-feet from the garage floor to the blades, but it feels low, and I’m sure I’m going to hit it with something sooner rather than later. It looks awfully close to the wall in some of those pictures, and it’s not far away, for sure. But there is actually more than a foot of clearance and it would really have to get to swinging to make contact.

As with all of my projects, what seemed like a simple project ended up not being quite so simple and ended taking most of Saturday afternoon to get to this point. The issues? Wiring. It was all the wiring. Sure there was wire there and everything worked, but there were changes that needed to be made.

The first issue was the fans themselves, which do not have pull chains and instead have a 120-volt inline 5-speed control switch. The problem being that the fan locations were in the same circuit as the lights. I didn’t want the fans running anytime the lights were on and I didn’t want the lights on anytime I was using the fans. So I needed to seperate those two things and run a new circuit dedicated to the fans.

I disconnected the switch line and wired it to the first light fixture and left all the rest of the wiring for the lights alone. That was probably the easiest part of the job, as there was plenty of extra wire and the fixture is easy to work on. The fan circuit comes off the 20-amp line I ran to the garage a while back.

But as long as I’m doing wiring I should do a couple things. First, I need to get rid of the extension cord that has been powering the garage door opener since I moved in 6-years ago (and for I don’t want to know how long before then). It was old and brittle and the shell cracked and split everywhere I bent it. It was time to get that gone. Second, I should move the wiring in the wall where I’d like to put a door in the back wall of the garage.

And so, those are the things I did. It only took one trip to Home Depot and while I didn’t get the second fan wired in, everything else I wanted is done.

I moved the two existing outlets, the new 20-amp and the older, existing garage outlet, over two stud spaces. I came off the new outlet and mounted the fan control above it and then continued up and over to the first fan. From that fan, I added a junction box to the old wiring that went to the light, so that I can jump over to fan #2 in the near future. If I remove that drop leg on the fan, I’ll rerun a new wire over there, but if not, this’ll work to splice my wires. I also came off the new outlet and ran wire up and over the future door location, down the other side, and added a quad-outlet near the workbench. From that quad-outlet I ran a wire up to the garage door opener and added a duplex outlet above it. No more extension cord.

And that, dear friend, is the long and short of my saturday project. I was going to tell you about the basement as well, but this is a pretty long post. I’ll save that for the next one. For now, I need to get cracking on some Biology homework. Later.

They came and put up my new garage door today. This is what the old door looked like… it looks better in the picture than it did in person. The original color had faded to a dull pink and I painted it a couple years back. Which made it look like a painted garage door, kinda sloppy. Additionally, the inside shows signs of having been  bumped and damaged. When the spring broke, I took that as an opportunity to get something nice.


Here’s what I came up with…

New garage door, new track hardware, and a new opener. Basically, the works.
Those windows let in a ton of light and make the interior of the garage feel much more open. Insulated glass and R-20 insulation in the door itself. Which raised eyebrows with the installers. You’ve seen the inside of the garage: no insulation, no drywall, no ceiling, not exactly the kind of place that requires an insulated door. But I have plans for the garage and it’ll get tricked out soon enough. I upgraded from a 12″ radius track to a 20″ radius track to lift the door up a bit higher, it’s not tight to the ceiling, but it’s a noticeable  change.
I upgraded my old opener to a belt drive model with a 3/4-hp motor. It’s nice and quiet. The unit has a motion detector so that the light comes on as soon as you walk into the garage. It’s got a wireless keypad, which I always liked at my brother’s house and now I have my own. And the wall mounted button has a built in thermometer so I know the temperature in the garage. Plus, it should work with the programmable buttons in the Impala and it’ll work with your phone. That’s one fancy pants garage door.
Yes, I know the windows are being partially blocked. I don’t know what they’re called, but those angled bits in the corners of the garage door opening will be coming out. The entry door is going to be replaced and possibly moved to the side of the garage. I’ve never liked the look of it where it’s at… it’s just not aesthetically pleasing to my eye. But whether I move it or not, it’s going to get changed to something with a window.
I noticed today, that when you hire a job done it takes a lot less time than when you do it yourself. At least when I do it myself.

Tomorrow is the big day! They’re coming to install my new garage door and all the goodies that go with it.
Tonight I came home and moved stuff around in the garage, so that they’ve got room to work their magic. Moving stuff around meant putting stuff away and organizing, which needed to be done, but still, I’ve got other things going right now… But I did it. That’s done. Then I went through and touched up about a half-dozen small spots in my drywall where there were pock marks or missed spots and in a pair of corners that just didn’t look right. I’ll let those dry and then dab some primer on them and be good to paint.
Speaking of which, I found some semi-gloss white in the basement that I’m going to use on the ceiling. Why semi-gloss? Because it’s a bathroom and because I want as much protection from the water,  steam, and moisture as I can create. So, semi-gloss paint on all the walls AND the ceiling. It just holds up better than satin or eggshell, and I wouldn’t even consider a flat.
Then I started editing a Truckcast while I ate some tacos, worked on my house plan for my duct design class, and then I realize you hadn’t gotten a post today. So here I am, putting up a post. The Truckcast isn’t done, so that’ll be up Friday, what with school tomorrow and all that jazz.
Lot’s going on here at home and at work. Things are busy, busy, busy. But I did take the time to make this .gif of my face. I was going to use it in place of that profile picture over there on the right, but it didn’t work. No .gifs allowed. Which is kind of a bummer. But I’ll share it with you, because we’re tight like that.