Archive for October, 2009

Starting in the workshop

Friday, October 30th, 2009

This has been a busy week. I finished unpacking the kitchen on Wednesday and worked on a few other projects around the house. Today, I got started on assembling the new table saw.  This is the beginning of our workshop in the basement.

There are a lot of parts with poor instructions:
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Fortunately, by cross-referencing the parts list with the instructions, assembly proceeds and it starts to look like it should:
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The herc-u-lift base is ready and waiting for the saw to be brought down to the basement:
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Unpacking the Kitchen

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Yesterday, Tina left for Bolivia, leaving me with a week to get as much done as possible.  I started in the kitchen because I was super excited to be able to cook a good meal again.  I had a mountain of boxes to go through, but first, I had to clean the cabinets and put in some shelf paper:
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Once I started going through the boxes, the dishwashing began.  Everything was coated with a thin layer of grime from being in storage all summer.  I put about 8 loads of dishes through the dishwasher and filled the dish drainer at least as many times with handwashed items:
IMG_7374_Doing_Dishes

I got through quite a few boxes and contributed to the growing mountain of cardboard in the basement.  To celebrate all of my success, I cooked a fantastic stir-fry for dinner.  It was nice to use a cutting board and proper tools.  I have a kitchen again!

Projects Day

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Tina’s dad did a fantastic job fixing all of our tape-removal goofs.  You can’t even tell where we peeled the paint:

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It’s nice to have a bed again.  Now time to unpack:
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Noche thinks so too:
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Well, maybe after a nap:
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After Tina’s dad headed home, we headed out in the pouring rain to Eat Heavy, then we took pops to see the new wind turbine at work.  We hopped out of the car during a lull in the downpour and walked over to the base.  Just as we got there, the skies opened up again.  We got soaked!  We stopped in to the hardware store to pick up a gasket for the leaking upstairs toilet and some washers to fix the dripping sink in the kitchen.  They didn’t have just the gasket in stock so we bought the whole flush mechanism.

Armed with our new supplies, we headed for home.  First up was the toilet.  We pulled the old flush valve out and swapped the gasket with the one from the new valve.  After installing it, we still had a little leak.  It turns out that the plastic flush valve had worn away and the gasket no longer fit tightly.  We pulled everything apart again and replaced the old flush valve with the new one.  Success!  Next, we headed downstairs to tackle the sink.  The screw on the hot water handle was rusted and quickly crumbled when we tried to turn the screw.  We used Tina’s new Dremel to cut a new groove in the top of the screw.  Now the screwdriver had grip, but the screw was rusted firmly in place.  We decided to abandon that project rather than snap off the handle and have a bigger project.  We will keep our eye out for a new cheap faucet to hold us over until we redo the kitchen sometime in the future.

While we were at Home Depot yesterday, I picked up a couple of air filters for the furnace.  I pulled out the current one to see if it needed to be changed.  It looks like it might not have ever been changed:
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Pops headed for home in the early afternoon.  Tina and I decided to tackle the trim painting in the office so we could be done with that room too:
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Moving Day

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

We awoke with excitement today, for today was the day that we would get our stuff back.  We’ve literally been living out of a couple of bags of clothes and whatever other random things had made the journey across the country with us since we left Las Vegas in late May.  We were in no way prepared to go this long without access to our belongings.  The movers had packed things rather haphazardly into our storage unit and the largest furniture ended up in the front, so it was impossible to access our boxes without removing half of the contents of the unit.  I would say that we’ve been doing fine without most of our things so far, but now that the first hints of coolness can be felt in the air, we could really use something other than our summer clothes to wear.  Oh yeah, I could probably stand to stop wearing flip-flops everyday.

We had spent yesterday evening preparing for the big day (not that there’s much to do in an empty house) by tidying up and sorting out where we would be putting everything.  We also managed to get a coat of paint on the trim in the master bedroom.  That completed our work in there (for now) so it is ready to be lived in.  It was a triumphant moment when we sealed the can of semi-gloss white trim paint,  to know that we had one room done (for now).  But that was yesterday.  Today is moving day!

We headed out early to pick up our U-Haul truck in Hyannis and then made our way to the storage unit in Pocasset.  As I turned the 26′ truck onto 151 at the Mashpee rotary, I noticed dark clouds growing on the western horizon; a stark contrast to the rosy sunrise fading to morning sun in my side-view mirrors.  Showers had been forecast, and, though we were hoping to get lucky, it looked as if they were approaching.

We arrived at the storage unit and got the truck into position.  Two of our friends, Michael and Wayne, arrived to help us load up.  Despite a few sprinkles now and again, we stayed mostly dry and finished packing everything into the truck in a bit under two hours.

Back at the house, Michael, Tina, and I started unloading the truck.  Most of the boxes and furniture were headed to the basement since the majority of the house remains unfinished.  We moved more quickly than expected and had most of the truck unloaded by the time our fathers showed up to help.  No problem there because we had plenty of other projects in mind for them to help with.

The pile of boxes to be unpacked in the kitchen:
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The mountain in the basement:
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Baboi and Noche are very happy to have their stuff back:
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Later that afternoon, Pops and I headed back to Hyannis to return the moving truck and to stop by Home Depot to pick up some necessary parts and pieces for our misc. projects that were were hoping to tackle for the weekend.  Tina and her father stayed back at the house to work on fixing all of the peeling paint from removing the painters tape.  We spent the evening watching hockey on our own TV, albeit still sitting in camp and beach chairs.  Then, with much joy, we headed upstairs to sleep in our REAL BED!  It was a great day!

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Monday, October 12th, 2009

After a restful night hanging out with our cats for the first time in four-and-a-half months, we were ready to get going again.  We started the day by putting a second coat of paint on the walls in the office.  After we were done with that, we returned to the master bedroom to remove the painters tape.  That’s where we ran in to this problem:

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As we were removing the tape, some of the paint was coming with it.  Needless to say, this was rather discouraging to both of us.  We have a long list of things we need to do to get the house in the shape that we want it in, and we have little time for new problems.  As you can see, these are good size chunks of paint coming off:

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We headed in to the office to get the tape off of those walls while the second coat of paint was still drying, hoping that it would help.  It did not.  Well, add a couple of additional things to our TO DO list…

Trying not to get hung up on the wall paint problems, we decided to tackle some touchups of the floor paint in the office and hallway.  Since it didn’t look like we’d be able to get another gallon of the paint any time soon (that’s what we get for going with el-cheapo paint from walmart), we thought it would be best to make sure we recovered the thin areas and ensure that all of the nail holes had good paint coverage.  That task took us into the evening and we decided to spend the rest of the night doing cat-related maintenance tasks, including cleaning up the blankets and carriers from each cat getting carsick on the ride down yesterday.  Some progress was made, but more work was created…  What a day!

The Cats Come Home

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

I woke up bright and early and decided to get started with the floor in the master bedroom. I wanted to get the first coat of Polyurethane on the floor as early as possible so I might be able to get a second coat done before bed. I quickly realized that spreading the finish over the picky subfloor was not as easy as it is on finished wood. The uplifted jagged edges of the strands in the OSB were constantly grabbing the lambswool applicator and made it difficult to move smoothly over the floor. The floor was also absorbing quite a bit of the finish. Still, I was able to get through the room in a reasonable amount of time without making too much of a mess. Once I had cleaned up the messy applicator and paint tray, I headed back upstairs without my respirator to see how bad the smell was. It was quite powerful and I decided that I needed to seal off the room. I headed out to purchase some plastic sheeting, which I used to seal off the hot air return in the bedroom and to completely seal the doorway. That actually worked better than I expected. The smell never made it downstairs.

Shortly after I finished sealing off the room, Tina and her parents arrived with our cats. We got them set up in our temporary bedroom and left them to settle in to their new space while we got started with the many other things we had planned for the day. It seems that Noche made himself right at home.
Noche Home
Tina’s dad got started with the paint in the office.
Mr C
Her mom headed outside to take care of some of the fall trimming that needed to be done in the gardens and to meet the neighbors. Tina got started patching holes in the walls on the first floor. We are hoping to get the downstairs painted as soon as we decide on a color. I headed for the basement, where I spent some time cleaning up the washer and dryer before moving them back to their corner and hooking them up. I also finished sorting through the random piles of stuff that I had been moving around down there and got it a little bit organized.

Tina’s dad finished up the first coat in the office early in the afternoon and we all took a break to have a bite to eat. We are really happy with the way the color is coming out in the office too. Here it is with one coat of paint on the walls and one coat of paint on the floor (no finish yet).
Office Walls and Floor
Tina’s parents left shortly after we ate to make the drive back home. Tina and I let the cats out to explore the house while we unwound. We decided to take the evening off so that we would still have energy to make a big push tomorrow. We’re really grateful for all of the help we’ve been getting from our families!
Jesse and Mrs C

Today, I battled a table saw

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

We woke up with plenty of energy for another day full of work.  Not wanting to start the day on an empty tank, we headed out to Eat Heavy and then we took mom to work to see the wind turbine.  We headed back to the house, where mom started priming the floors.  We want to install pine floors upstairs, but we’re not able to do that as part of the first round of renovations.  We’ve decided that we’re going to try painting and sealing the OSB as a temporary floor.  We don’t want to put carpet back down just to rip it out next winter.

Speaking of wood floors, Tina and I headed to out to South Yarmouth to put in the order for our flooring for the first floor.  We’re buying Carlisle floors from Terrene.  We had decided early on that we wanted wide plan hickory in the main rooms downstairs but we hadn’t completely settled on what to do with the bedroom.  We had initially considered going with hickory throughout, but then considered a dark-stained red oak that had a similar look to a sample of antique resawn chestnut that we just couldn’t justify putting in.  We decided that the grain pattern wasn’t close enough to that of the chestnut, so we decided to go with Eastern white pine instead.  After lingering over the samples to make sure we were satisfied with our choices, we placed the order.  We ordered 5″ to 10″ random width hickory and 9″ Eastern white pine.  These floors are going to be beautiful.

After a long drive back in the pouring rain, Tina joined mom upstairs priming the floor.  I headed down to the basement to put the the first coat on the front half of the floor.  Mom had to head home to get ready for a party.  I joined Tina upstairs and put a coat of paint on the floor.  Since this is a temporary job, we got some really cheap paint to use.  Even though we had already primed, the OSB really sucked up the paint.  I was a little nervous that we might run out of paint.  We broke in to the second gallon by the time we got into the office.

While the floors were drying, I brought the truck around to the back of the house (it barely fits between the hedges and the side steps so some trimming will be necessary) to investigate whether it might be possible to get my new 477 pound table saw out of the truck.  I bought a Ridgid R4511 table saw (yeah, the one with the granite top) about a month ago during the big orange boxes power tool sale.  After receiving recommendations and reading reviews, I decided that it was a deal I couldn’t pass up.  The saw sat in the back of my truck (under the shell) at my parents house for the last month while we waited to close on the house.  Now that we have the house, it would be nice to be able to use the truck to haul stuff around.  I had tried to recruit some volunteers to help me get it in the basement, but I couldn’t coordinate schedules to get enough people together at the same time.  Still, it needed to come out.  I started by removing the cardboard.  Underneath, I found a very stout steel cage protecting the saw.  It also prevented me from removing any of the contents.  If there was any chance of me moving the saw, I had to get as much weight out of there as possible.  Since I still had the shell on and didn’t have enough people to take that off either, I decided the best course of action was to attack the the cage with a hacksaw.  After a lot (and I mean A LOT) of very short strokes with the hacksaw within the confines of the shell, I managed to get the cage split in half.  Now I was able to remove the granite wings, the steel fence, and a couple of boxes of misc parts.  Still, the main body of saw is pretty heavy.  There was no way I was going to lift it, but I thought I could probably slide it on to the deck.  I removed the tailgate from the truck, and with Tina’s help, I managed to get the truck turned sideways and backed right up to the entrance to the deck.  It only took about 53 turns to get in position.  Now the bed of the truck was sitting about two inches above the deck.  This was exactly how I wanted it to be.  I handed Tina a couple of 2x6s and had her slide them under the saw while I lifted it, making a ramp down on to the deck.  Using that, I was able to slide the saw out of the truck.  With the saw pushed to the corner of the deck, it was on to tackle the next project.

Remember that pile of carpet we have in the dining room from our first day?  It needed to be loaded into the truck.  Tina was heading up to her parents house to pick up our cats and her father offered to take the carpet to the transfer station for us since we don’t have a sticker for the one in town yet.  We were anxious to get the staple-filled pile out before the cats arrived and decided to play on it.

Once the carpet was loaded, my attention turned to getting the saw into the house.  The pallet to which the saw is bolted puts the base of the saw at about the same height as the slider.  I unbolted the saw  from the pallet and used the 2x6s to build another ramp and slid the saw into the dining room.  Since we don’t have a table yet, I figured it could stay there for a few days until I could rally a crew of 3 or 4 people to help me get it to the basement.

Tina headed out to her parents house and I went out to get more paint for upstairs.  Unfortunately, our cheap source of paint was out of the base that we needed so I couldn’t get any more.  I decided to make due with what we had left for now.  Back at the house, I put a second coat of epoxy on the basement floor and another coat of paint on the floor in the master bedroom.  I didn’t have enough to do the office and hallway, so I decided to call it a night.
Basement is Finished

Painting in the morning, co-workers take warning

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Somehow I managed to get up.  I’m not sure what possessed me to do it, but I’m feeling super motivated now that we’re back to making good progress.  So after going to bed sometime near one this morning, I dragged myself out of bed at six, suited up in my painting clothes and respirator, and headed down to the basement to roll on a second coat of epoxy in the back half.  What a way to start the day…

After a long, full day at work, we headed back for more fun with the house.  We want to take full advantage of the long weekend and we’re full of energy.  I headed to the basement again to move everything from the front of the basement to the back.  I took much more time doing this, making sure everything was clean before I moved it.  If I’m putting all this effort in to make the basement a bit more habitable, I want to keep it clean for as long as possible.  There was also a bigger pile of junk to go through.  I sorted through quite a bit of random wood, deciding what to keep and what to drag outside to get rid of.  I also had to disconnect the washer and dryer and get them moved over.  They needed some serious cleaning.  I managed to get the dryer lint and dust off, but they still looked pretty rough.  There were a few oily spots on the floor that needed attention so I scrubbed them and set up the fan to dry the floor.

Up on the second floor, we got to work vacuuming the floors.  We had accumulated a lot of dust that we were tracking everywhere.  After the floors were clean, we painted the second coat on the bedroom walls.  Again, because of the tape, this went rather quickly.  Since we still had a bit of energy and we were waiting for my mom to arrive, we started taping off the trim in the office.  Mom arrived and helped us finish up with the tape.  After that, we decided we had made good progress and called it a night…

Painting progress…

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Another day and another day of hard work. Tina spent the day in Boston, securing a Passport for her upcoming trip to Bolivia. She had to wait to pick it up at the end of the day so she decided to stay and catch up with her sister and avoid some rush hour traffic. I headed home to get started on the first coat on the basement floors. I noticed a few oily spots where the lawn mower was kept. I didn’t want to have any adhesion problems so I scrubbed them with some Simple Green and set up a fan to help with drying.

While I was waiting, I headed upstairs to the bedroom to start taping the rest of the walls so that Tina would have an easier time cutting and rolling when she got home. The two short walls actually looked fantastic. All of the unevenness that was visible last night disappeared as the paint dried. The color is just what we wanted and I think the room will look fantastic when it is done.  Taping the rest of the room took me about forty minutes.

Painting Master

I went back down to check on the status of the basement floor.  Everything was dry so I cracked open the floor epoxy and got started rolling it out.  The epoxy was much more fluid that the wall paint and it rolled on very easily.  I finished half the basement in about half an hour.  What a difference!  Even with just the first coat, the basement looks so much cleaner.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it is finished…

Having finished the first coat of the basement so quickly, I went back upstairs to paint the remaining walls in the bedroom.  I start cutting and rolling back wall.  The tape definitely made things go much more quickly.  As I was finishing up the first wall, Tina got home and took over rolling while I cut the edges ahead of her.  I finished up by cutting in the walls in the closet that Tina had already rolled.  I hadn’t taped closet and it took me forever (with slightly poor results).  The room is really starting to have some character.  It’s nice to see some color in the house.  The rental-white walls were not exciting at all.

Painted Master

More painting woes…

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

I headed down to the basement again to continue the the improvements down there.  My task tonight was to clean the back half of the basement so I could paint the floor.  There was a lot of random junk down there that needed to be sorted through.  Most of it was just junk that ended up in the trash barrels.  I got everything that we wanted to keep moved over to the front of the basement and vacuumed the floor.

Tina got started painting the short walls in the master bedroom and I went up to help.  We picked a nice shade of sage which looked awfully minty in the can.  The test patch we painted looked very nice so we weren’t too worried.  We both had a rough start cutting around the trim.  It was just taking us way too long and the results weren’t great.  When we started rolling, things looked even worse.  The coverage looked very uneven.  After getting the two short walls done, we were so frustrated that we decided to call it an early night.  Our last task of the night was to load up our new trash barrels since tomorrow was trash day.  I was curious to see whether we would be able to get rid of some of the demolition materials in the trash cans.  We hauled the trash out to the curb and called it a night.

First Dinner

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

On the way home from work, we stopped at the paint store to pick up appropriate rollers for the ceiling.  I ran across the street to the lumber yard to pick up some floor paint.  I still hadn’t been able to find the product I was hoping to use, so I asked the manager what he would recommended.  He suggested I use DryLok’s 1-Part Epoxy, so I grabbed three gallons and headed home.

Upon our return to our new house (I just like saying that), I got started cooking our first dinner in the house.  My options were limited since I only have one frying pan to work with.  I opted for some chicken and beans with taco seasoning.  While dinner was finishing up, I set the table and we prepared to sit down to our first home-cooked meal.
First Dinner in the New House

After dinner, Tina got back to painting the ceilings upstairs.  I headed downstairs to put a second coat on the basement walls.  
Painting Basement Walls
The second coat went on much more evenly and hid the darker patches around the form joints.  I ended up using a little less than than 8 gallons, leaving me two to finish off the bulkhead area once I take the stairs out and clean out all of the trash…  Tina had much greater success with the ceilings upstairs but it’s still really difficult to judge whether they are totally covered.  We’ll have to see when the paint dries.

Back to Work and back to work

Monday, October 5th, 2009

It was actually nice to get back to work so that we don’t get burned out, but when five o’clock rolled around, we hurried back to the house, anxious to get back to work.  My goal was to get a first coat of DryLok on the remaining walls in the basement.  Based on Saturday’s progress, I estimated it would take about 5 hours to get it done so I got started right away.  Tina went back upstairs to put a second coat of paint on the ceilings.  Shortly after she started, she came to the conclusion that the roller we had was too nappy and was leaving too much texture on the ceiling so she came down to the basement to help me.  With Tina rolling and me cutting and back-brushing, we finished up in about four hours.  We were pretty exhausted so we cleaned up and called it a night.

A Break from the Work

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

THEN, we went to a Bruins game (I know, very irresponsible of us, now that we are home owners!). BUT, it was the best game ever – it had everything! Scoring, fights, tempo, fan fights, throwing of beer and various other objects (not by us, of course) – you get the idea. It was awesome, and a nice break from the craziness of the previous few days!

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Painting Begins

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

I woke up to pouring rain this morning.  Great weather to be inside working on the house!  We had to venture out to pick up the paint for the upstairs rooms (on sale!) so we decided that we should grab some breakfast while we were out.  Mom elected to stay and get started priming the ceilings and walls.  While we were “Eating Heavy,” the downpours worsened and the wind started pushing the rain sideways.  What a great day!

Upon returning home, Tina headed upstairs to join mom in priming the walls.  Dad and I headed to the basement to start the painting down there.  That’s when disaster struck!  We noticed a trickle of water running down the wall from one of the windows, forming a nice puddle on the floor.  A quick trip outside illuminated the source of the problem.  Water from the downspout had nowhere to go and was running back into the window well, where it was migrating between the sliding window panes into the basement.  I grabbed a bucket and bailed out the window well.  We decided the best solution will be to put in some drains, but for now, we just needed a way to get the water away from the house.  We headed out to the local lumber yard to get an elbow and another downspout.  The manager was just putting the key in the door to lock up when we pulled in, but I think our soggy condition made him pause and ask what we needed.  He dispatched a lingering worker to the yard to grab our gutter parts and reopened a register to process the transaction.  Now that’s customer service!  These folks were already more helpful than the staff of the hardware store across the street.  We headed back to the house, where we temporarily installed the 10′ pipe across the yard to redirect the water.  Then, back down to the basement to dry things out and start painting.

The DryLok is much thicker than regular paint.  Thankfully, I had picked up a 5-gallon sized paint-stirring attachment for a drill.  I’m sure my arm and shoulder would be sore if I had stirred the bucket by hand.  We utilized a two person approach to the application.  Dad rolled the DryLok on and I came behind him with a brush to fill in the holes where the roller missed.  I also took care of cutting the edges.  It was a fairly easy task and we had one of the short walls finished rather quickly.  The worst part of the job was the fumes!  Thankfully, we all had our respirators.

Dad Painting Basement

Meanwhile, mom and Tina had finished up with the primer and moved on to painting a first coat on the ceiling.
mams_painting

Things were starting to look good and we had made decent progress for the day despite the minor flood in the basement, but it was time to take a break for some much needed entertainment.  Mom and dad headed home and Tina and I got as much paint off of us as we could and headed up to Boston…

Some progress

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Day two of homeownership began slowly for us. We had to finish packing up our remaining belongings at our temporary accommodation, then run various errands. Tina went off to get some cleaning supplies and groceries while I headed out to borrow a TV and search for filters for the Hoover wet/dry vacuum that my father loaned us (of course mine is at the very back of our storage unit). As it turned out, finding the proper filter for the vacuum was going to be more of a project than I anticipated. The hardware store downtown didn’t have Hoover-specific filters but the filter for another brand looked very similar to the one shown on the Hoover website so the manager said I could try it and if it didn’t work, I could return it. So, with filter and TV in hand, I headed for home to wait for the cable guy.

The cable installer was actually early for the appointment and got started right away. The install was pretty simple so he took his time tracing out the lines and checking levels in all the rooms so we can move the modem up to the office and the DVR to the living room when we’re finished making dust there. While he was doing that, I managed to get some of the outlet plates and door hardware removed from the upstairs rooms. I also tried out the new filter for the vacuum. No good…

Just as the installer was finishing up, Tina got a call from the closing attorney. We had missed one signature somewhere in the 2 inch stack of papers that we had gone through yesterday so we needed to stop by and take care of that. Since we were heading back downtown, I grabbed the ill-fitting vacuum filter and the vacuum to see if we could find a more suitable filter. We got our Lead Paint Declaration signed and sent off to the bank and I was able to return the filter hassle-free (A+ for helpfulness). Off to another hardware store to see if they had the appropriate filter… The second hardware store carried the same brand cartridge style filters but they also had the cloth filters that are held in place with a plastic ring. I thought that one of those would work just fine, but the anti-salesman assured me that it would not work for my particular vacuum (which I had brought in to the store). So we headed back to the house, empty handed, with dust everywhere from pulling up the carpets yesterday.

Since the day seemed to be slipping away from us and we hadn’t really gotten anything accomplished yet, we decided we needed a plan. Tina got started patching holes in the master bedroom and office upstairs while I headed out to the big orange box to get paint supplies and continue my search for some way to vacuum up all the dust. More of the afternoon slipped away on the long, traffic-filled drive to Hyannis (the Sagamore Bridge construction traffic is spilling down on to 28!). I picked up 8 gallons of ceiling paint and 10 gallons of BIN primer. The house has a strange smell, like cheap air freshener, so we’re hoping that between the carpet removal and the sealing primer we’ll be able to get rid of it. I was also able to purchase the cloth vacuum filters that the anti-salesman told me would’t work, figuring at this point I would use zip ties and duct tape to make it work. Homeward bound, through thicker traffic, armed with supplies to finally be productive.

Tina was still patching holes when I got home. I helped her take down the cheap wire shelving in the closets so she could patch those holes as well. I finally got back to work removing the carpet tack strips in the living room and on the stairs. This was much easier with the proper tool. Tina finished the patching as the daylight was fading and got to work installing the new entry door hardware. Door Doctor A stripped screw on the striker plate for the front door kept us from swapping that but the knobs went in smoothly and look much better. Speaking of daylight fading… We discovered that there was an unknown electrical issue with the light in the upstairs hallway and that we really needed some lamps to use in the bedrooms and living room that have no ceiling fixtures! Having finished removing the tack strips on the stairs in near darkness, I took a look at the new vacuum filters to see if they would work. Sure enough, they fit right over the foam wet-filter and were easily secured using the existing filter ring. So, it turns out we could have been vacuuming hours ago if it hadn’t been for the anti-salesman (and that’s the second strike so far against that store). I tested the vacuum in the living room, and being satisfied with the results, we took a break for some pizza at Steve’s.

After dinner, we decided we had better finish getting the downstairs bedroom ready for my parents and their dog, who were on the way up to give us a hand tomorrow. At this point, the downstairs bedroom is the only room we have that hasn’t been touched or filled with debris. We’ve decided that we will live with the grungy carpet for now and focus our efforts on getting the upstairs rooms finished. We sorted our belongings into piles along the edges of the room so that there would be room for air mattresses.

My parents arrived around 9, just as Tina and I were beginning to feel exhausted. However, with our wishlist of things to do by the end of the weekend still long, we decided to tackle a few more tasks before quitting for the night. After setting up the new halogen work lamp that my parents brought for us (THANKS!!), Tina and my mother headed upstairs to sand the patches and get ready for priming the ceilings and walls. Dad and I headed for the basement to clean the walls in preparation for sealing them with DryLok. The cement in the basement is darker than average which makes it seem even more depressing down there. Since I’m planning to have my workshop in part of the basement, I wanted to lighten it up down there. At first I considered painting, but after adding up the cost and time of etching, priming, and then painting and comparing that to two coats of DryLok (which would provide the added benefits of reducing moisture and radon migration through the porous concrete), I decided to try the latter. The cost savings are certainly there and we’ll see about the time saving after I’ve gotten the stuff on the walls.

We finally called it quits around 11. My parents retired to the downstairs bedroom and Tina and I set up the air mattress on the kitchen floor. I quickly drifted off to sleep, soothed by the gentle hum of the refrigerator.