More updates on the home improvement front. Today, I took phone calls about both the roof and the electrical upgrade. They’ll be here to start on the roof next week Wednesday and expect it to take two days. The utility company has scheduled the electrical work for the first day of July. And as I mentioned yesterday, the fence will start this Thursday. Lots of exciting stuff and good news around these parts.

But not everything is happening around here without issue. I need to pick up some vinyl j-channel and a few pieces of siding so that I can cut in the new back door for the garage and go around the framing for the screened patio. However, I’m not 100% sure what I’m looking for. The company that I picked up siding from last time has moved, changed names, and apparently changed names again. They’re still in business, just wouldn’t know it without a bit of research.

Anyway, I went there this morning to get what I need, only to find that they’re not quite open yet. What with the Covid-19. Their counter and showroom are closed to the public. You can call and place orders for pick-up… but I don’t really know what I need. So, I went online and found their website and their product list and realized that if you’re not an existing customer you can’t order from them online. But maybe now I have enough information to make a relatively informed phone call? Maybe. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

I haven’t gotten around to making the flower boxes for my privacy screen, but Lady Ronn is making the best of it with a bit of power washing and some other planters. Looks pretty good to me. I’d make the boxes, but my garage is a giant pile of tools and even if I could get to my saws, I wouldn’t be able to find anything else. Yet another thing waiting for the electrical work to get done.

Oh… I also requested an estimate for a 12×20 concrete slab for the shed, a new driveway, and a new garage floor. Not sure a couple of those are realistic projects, but I’m interested in knowing how much that’d cost. Because you never know. Depends on how much home equity line of credit money is left after this first round of projects is done.

That’s it for today. I think tomorrow I’ll give my two cents on the riots, black lives, and the LGBT stuff that’s been in the news lately. Later.

And so I finish my week of paid time off–you cannot call this a vacation, a vacation is very different from this–doing the same tasks with which I began: laundry, mowing the lawn, and cleaning up.

Looking at my To Do list… This week was a failure. I am not ready for carpet. The ceiling has not been painted. Hell, the drywall hasn’t even been primed. It’s been that kind of week. Sure, I did a bunch of stuff, finished parts of this project, fixed some stuff that had been bothering me, and I’m far closer to the end goal of getting carpet in this basement. But I can’t help but think this was a failure of a week.

cleaning up the mess

I have a Nest thermostat story, but I think I’ll wait to tell that one. I need to step away from the Nest family of products for a day or two. Why, you ask.

I have been defeated by a Nest Hello doorbell. This should be easy enough. I don’t have a doorbell, so everything is new–transformer, chime, Nest Hello, even the wiring is new. All new. Still not working properly. The doorbell rings and rings and rings some more. I’ve looked at the Nest documentation, I’ve watched YouTube videos, I’ve tested and metered and checked everything and it still doesn’t work properly. In the end, frustration set in and I ended up frying the transformer. I hope that I didn’t also fry the doorbell camera. I go back to this later in the week.

Cracks in the drywall seams on the south wall of the basement. No cracking since I started this years ago. They weren’t there Thursday. They weren’t there yesterday. Today… every seam has a fine crack along it. WTF. This is beyond frustrating.

everything is cracked

I am exhausted. Mentally. Physically. Spiritually. And tomorrow I go back to work… that should make everything better. Fortunately, it’s only a 3-day week. I can do this. No worries. Later.

I broke down and went to Home Depot this evening. I bought tools that I know I already have, which is frustrating, and I took the opportunity to fill up the gas canister for the lawn mower. Who has more fun than me?

Today was just another day of finishing drywall. Doesn’t make for very good pictures, so I’ll share with you some doodles I did during a meeting a couple weeks back.

meeting notes

Crafting station. Gone. Stationary bike. Removed. Assorted shelves, rugs, and clutter. Outta here. Lots of tools left, but I may need some of those. Otherwise, the basement is wide open.

School is out. I’m done with Biology and with any other classes until next fall, when I hope to be starting the bachelor’s program at Ferris State. In celebration, I’m taking a week off work. In preparation for my vacation I have cleared out the basement living room area. This means that all the other rooms in the basement are now extra full. But it also means that I can get down there and work my ass off. The plan is to make this my only focus for the coming week. From the time I get home on Friday and until I go back to work on the second Monday following, I am making it my mission to get the basement done and ready for carpet. I want this thing done folks. Enough is enough.

  • I have some drywall finishing to do.
  • I want to box in some of the ceiling and straighten up the wires so that I can spray the whole ceiling.
  • I need to prime and paint the walls.
  • I need to prime and paint the entertainment wall.
  • I need to hang a light.
  • I need to flush some of the nails in the floor and secure a couple of pieces of plywood.
  • I need to do a couple small carpentry tasks.

That’s the list. I’m not going to worry about putting trim down until after the carpet is in, because I think it’ll just be easier that way. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’ve got to get this done. Worst case scenario and I don’t get it done; I have the Friday after Independence Day off and that’ll give me four extra days. But I’m not counting on those days. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.

How are those shelves in the basement coming along? So glad you asked. They’re coming along nicely. I’m pretty happy with them. I ran out of plywood, so I’m missing a few shelves. I had a small issue with the trim boards lining up due to that sheet of plywood behind the first two units, and my lack of proper compensating for said plywood. But I was able to use a couple shims and even things out pretty close. A little bit of filler did the rest of the magic. Once it’s all painted you’ll never notice that particular oopsie.

I may need to sand down the pieces next to the doors, as the clearance is pretty tight and I imagine that the paint will come off where it rubs. I’d love to hear your opinion on whether I should add a strip of trim between the doors. I’m thinking I should to keep the look consistent. Let me know.

all trimmed up and ready for sanding
missing four shelves

I took these pictures before I changed out the lights, so they’re a little dark. Sorry. Anywho, that’s the update on the shelves in the basement. Later.

The basement living room is pretty good size, I’d say it’s a bit over 14′ x 20′, but it was also pretty dark. It’s got a low ceiling, even lower duct work, and it was lit by two of these.

even with a bright bulb, this doesn’t cut it

Something needed to be done, and that something was to replace these fixtures. Which is what I did.

As I mentioned, the ceiling is low; an inch or so above 7-feet. With that in mind, I wanted something that I could put up into the spaces between the joists. I had considered a couple different fixtures, but spontaneously went with these Hyperikon 1×4 panels I found for less than $50 a piece on Amazon.

Hyperikon LED Troffer 1×4 Ft Panel Edge-Lit, Dimmable, 40W (100W Equivalency), 4000K Day Light, 4000 Lumens, Drop Ceiling Light, UL & DLC – Pack of 4

There were two issues with these panels that I had not anticipated. The first is that the electrical connection box isn’t built into the fixture, the way it is in the more expensive fixtures I’ve previously gotten from Home Depot. Instead, it sits on the fixture like a little box, which makes flush mounting to an existing ceiling impossible. The second issue, and this is probably the reason for the first issue, is that these are designed to go in a ceiling grid or be wire hung, neither of which is my plan.

Fortunately, I have an entire joist space to work with, so the electrical connection isn’t an issue. And I have some extra drop-ceiling grid materials left from when I did the bedrooms down here, so I can fabricate some frames to sit these in. I could rip down some 2x4s to narrow up the joist space and then screw the ceiling grid Tees in place to make a frame. Which is what I did and it worked out quite well.

ignore my laundry drying on the exercise equipment.
note the 1×1 lamp next to the drill motors.

I bought the 4-pack intending to put two on each side of the duct work, but between the plumbing, gas line, and support framing I was only able to use one on the northside of the basement. I have a 1×1 panel that I’m going to put in the darker area in front of Lady Ronn’s craft room and I’ll pick up another to go in front of the laundry room/bathroom area.

It makes a huge difference. Most notably in the area of my craft station. It might be nice to put all these on a dimmer (and that’s possible with these fixtures), but as of now I have not done that.

Sorry about the mess. It seems that all my pictures show my place as a wreck and I guess it is in the areas that are under the influence of project fever. Someday I’ll show you nice finished spaces that will be the envy of all my neighbors. Today is not that day. 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.

Wednesday night I cut and fitted the trim pieces for the bathroom. I figure I’ll paint them before I put them up. Then it’ll just be some caulking and touch-up. Which should make things easier. Still haven’t sanded or painted all the pieces yet… I guess that’ll be a Saturday project.
Thursday, well, that’s a school night. So what I’m saying to you is that nothing got done on the bathroom. Although, now that I think about it, I did do a bit of shopping on amazon for shower curtain rods. I want a curved one, or two, that won’t rust. Because, when they say moisture resistant, what they’re really saying is, this thing is gonna rust. Trust me. That’s what they’re saying. I’ve been down this road before.
Tonight, I installed the medicine cabinet and picked up my tools a bit. It’s still a mess, but my piles of tools are a bit more organized. Now I’m waiting for my Chinese dinner to be delivered by the wonderful Lady Ronn.
No pictures tonight. I’ll save the pictures until I have something more significant to show.
The plan for tomorrow is finishing the trim, caulking, and hanging the accessories.

Oh sure, there’s lots of stuff left to do. Floor trim and quarter round on top of that, towel bars and paper holder hung, medicine cabinet and vanity mirror put up, gotta do something about the bath fan, then there are doors for the shower and the bathroom itself, but functionally; functionally it’s done and everything works.

vanity is set to go

cluttered with tools

The walls are up and finished. The floor is down. Shower is in and plumbed. Toilet is in and plumbed. And as of last night, I can say, the vanity is in and plumbed.
The office, however, is looking a little worse for wear as the project closes in on completion. It’s probably time to put some of these tools away.

I did not get the vanity in place yesterday, or today, for a variety of reasons. First among those is all the wall opening, plumbing rerouting, and drywall repair that I was not expecting to do. But all of that is done now. The vanity fits. The valves don’t leak. The valves are accessible. And you’d almost never know that I had to cut a hole in the wall. I had to cut a spacer for the side of the vanity and I’m staining it to match, but that’s not going as fast as I’d like. I also had to order a side-splash thing, because my walls are not square and I have nearly a half-inch gap on the right side. Which is super frustrating, because I didn’t frame either of these walls. Oh well, it’ a old house.

shut off valves in place with plenty of clearance

As I had to wait for that stain to set up before I can darken it up, sand, finish, what-not. I took some time to start setting up the sink faucet and drain. Things are stuck in waiting mode. Can’t cut the trim until the vanity is in place. Can’t place the vanity until the spacer is in place. Can’t sand or restain the spacer until it’s fully dry. But with all that said, I think I did okay this weekend. We can use the tub and the toilet, but doing either would require a decided lack of modesty, as there is no door in place 😉
faucet and drain in place

I dragged the vanity and sink top upstairs and into the bathroom. I slid the vanity into place and realized that this isn’t going to work. There is a center rib on the back of the cabinet that is there to hold the brackets for the drawers, it is also perfectly lined up with the drain and water line. I tried to think of someway to re-engineer the cabinet, but no can do.  So, plumbing is going to need to be moved. Let’s cut into the wall…

it took a lot longer than this gif

I know that drywall patch looks terrible. I’ll be putting a second coat of mud over it, but it’ll be behind the vanity and no one will see it, until the next remodel. I feel bad about it, but not as bad as I feel about having to cut into my new wall. Grrr…