29 March, 2010

Duct Tape Dissemination

In Alaska (and maybe elsewhere), we have plenty of jokes based at least partially in truth about duct tape.  You can build or fix anything with duct tape.  We have a duct tape ball, where party-goers design their costumes out of duct tape.  It comes in many colors (I like the purple the best).  People use it to fix tents and tarps, cover broken brake lights, seal holes, make wallets, and the list goes on.  The many varieties and uses of duct tape are phenomenal.

I never really thought about the original purpose of duct tape until tonight.  When I got home from work, Greg had ripped up yet another section of flooring.  Partially to fix weak or squeaky areas, but also to move a floor vent from one side of the sliding glass door to the other.  In order to do so, he got metal tubing and cut through the floor joists.  And what did he use to seal the ducting, you might ask?  Well, he used duct tape.  Here's where the light bulb went on over my head.  Duct tape... Ducting...  Hmmmmm...
Apparently the original duct tape was NOT the one with the duck on it.  And it had words printed on it - the heat rating.  And it seals the tubing for the air vents so the warm air gets pushed out into the room (rather than leaking all over the under-sub-floor).  Some of the silver kinds are still heat-rated well enough to use for duct-work, but I don't think the colored ones are.  Why waste those pretty colors where they'll never be seen anyway??  =)
My contribution to the project tonight was more vacuuming.   Sawdust, dirt and detritus from the under-sub-floor (does that area have a "real" name?), more sawdust.  But this is the last of the cutting-up-the-floor part of the project.  Still plenty of other things to do, but all the sub-floor work is done.  I can check that off my list of things we've completed (that I wasn't aware we were going to do - or needed to do - when I signed on for this whole deal).  Who knew that removing the fireplace and laying flooring would include so many different things??  Someone else might have known, but alas, that someone wasn't me.  Live and learn...

28 March, 2010

Dust Everywhere

Before we can paint we have to texture.  Before that comes mudding, and because of the mudding there's the sanding. Three coats of mud.  Three bouts of sanding.  Three times the cleanup.  Ugh!
Let me say that again: UGH!  I suppose I'm lucky, since Greg initially thought we'd have to mud even more than three times.
 Greg did all the mudding and sanding.  I helped by running the shop vac.  I'll be *so* glad when we're through this part.  That dust gets absolutely everywhere, and no matter how much I clean, 5 minutes later there's a fine layer on all surfaces.
We're going to have to find a good leather cleaner/conditioner (when this whole ordeal is done) and clean the couch.  We're also going to have to go over every surface to get rid of the residual dust.  And wash everything that wasn't hermetically sealed when we started.  Which means we'll be washing everything.
On the bright side: I think I know what Greg will look like when he's old and grey. =)

27 March, 2010

Museum Birthday and Other Stuff

Saturday was a busy, busy day - but quite enjoyable.  Greg got up early to do some remodel work - sanding or mudding, I forget which (I've got plenty to update from that quarter, but that's for another post).  We met friends for brunch at the Muse, a restaurant in the Anchorage museum.  It's been *ages* since I've been to the museum.  Stacy set this up as a get-together to celebrate James' birthday.  Brunch and Star Wars - can it get any better?!?
We spent hours visiting and wandering the exhibit.  Now I want to rent the movies and have a Star Wars marathon.  It's going to have to wait until the house is entertain-worthy again, but it sounds like a fun theme for a get-together...
It was pretty amazing to see the original costumes used for the films and to see how small the actors are.  On the screen they're always bigger than life.  In reality, I'm taller than most of them (except Darth Vader); and while it seems idyllic to be as tiny (short and tiny - definitely petite) as Princess Leia, I like being tall.  (Is there such a thing as tall and petite?  What are skinny tall people called?  Gawky?  I guess I'd go for gawky.  Maybe someday that'll be me...)
We also spent time wandering the Natural History section of the museum.  It's got artifacts and diagrams and relics and replicas from Alaska's history.  Canoes; bears; native Alaskan artifacts; etc., etc.  Since the price of admission for the Star Wars exhibit included access to the whole enchilada, we made sure to take advantage of the opportunity.  It wasn't until hours later as we're getting ready to leave that I noticed James and Greg: once again they're twins.  Not blue-shirt-computer-geek-remodel twins.  No.  This time they're luau-Hawaiian-shirt-going-to-the-museum twins.
The rest of the afternoon was supposed to include a trip to REI, shopping Costco, and scoping out the slate selection at Home Depot.  Two out of three ain't bad.  I've been wanting some *real* hiking shoes/boots for a while now.  Not that I do a lot of hiking, but I'd like to do more than I have.  I'm not very sure-footed and my only option here-to-fore has been tennis shoes with worn out tread.  Doesn't do much for stability when you're on any kind of incline and it's muddy.  Or rocky.  Or just not flat, dry pavement.  So I spent my REI dividend (and the 20% off one item) on some good shoes.  Now it just has to warm up enough to melt the snow and dry out the mud a little.  I'm going to start wearing my hikers on Jeans Friday to break them in a bit before the first "real" test...
We also made it to Home Depot - picked out the slate for the sliding door entryway.  And that's a tale for the next post.

22 March, 2010

Muddy Walls

We're getting closer...
This weekend was spent on the walls - and the ceiling.  Mudding.  Where there used to be screw heads, gaps, and holes, there is now a smear of white.  And the corners are in too.  Even without the texture and paint, having the first coat of mudding done makes things look much more finished.  We're not going to make it by the April 1st deadline.  Greg has promised that there will be a place for my sisters to stay when they're here (the guest room currently no longer even has a walkway), so I suppose I'll have to live with that.  And I know he's working really hard on it - he's given up a couple really nice weekends of play to further our progress.
Between the mudding episodes, we had Game Night at the Green's (yay! Killer Bunnies!), picked out slate for the slider entryway, and installed the Interrogation Lighting.  It's supposed to make the mud/texture/paint process for the ceiling a bit easier.  It looks like we're ready to set up a table with some pliers and strap some bad guy down to take out his teeth (without painkillers, of course).
Greg did some sanding tonight.  When I got home from the gym there was a white film of powder over everything...  so I helped clean up (in the process, learned that we have another segment for the hose on the shop vac, so I don't need to look - or feel - like the Hunchback of Notre Dame... wish I'd known that earlier...) and then had dinner.  There'll be at least one more coat of mud, which means at least one more coat of super-fine dust - man, that stuff's nasty!  But then it's texture, paint, and floor...  I can see a light ahead...  Is it the end of the tunnel?  Or a train on it's way to mow me down...

14 March, 2010

Remodel Update - Makin' Progress!

It seems like we've rearranged the furniture a dozen times or more over the last couple weekends.  Maybe we have.  We relocated furniture (and packed even more stuff into even more boxes so we could cram even more into the spare bedroom) so Greg could scrape the rest of the popcorn off the ceiling.
Side note: That is really dust in the air - not faerie sparkles or a dirty lens.  I've been wondering if I need to clean the lens on my camera, since whenever I use the flash inside we see these little dust motes everywhere.  I can use the flash just fine outside, so I'm guessing that we've got a bunch of construction dust hanging in the air.  It'll be nice when it's warm enough to open up some windows and move some of this out...
We rearranged again so he could get to the kitchen floor.  The linoleum is gone and now it's mostly plywood in there too.  We still have to remove what's under the sink and attached cabinetry (that's coming soon, I'm told), but otherwise it's entirely sub-floor.
We rearranged a couple more times so Greg could have access to "soft spots" that he then proceeded to cut up and remove (I'm pretty handy at running the shop-vac).  Turns out the flooring is a pretty vicious job - Greg drew blood at least 11 times and has a deep splinter that he'll have to let fester out.
And we rearranged yet again so we could get the rest of the sheetrock put on the walls.  (A friend came by earlier in the week to help Greg figure out a power issue - thanks, John!  Now that's done and it's time to finish the walls...  Yay!!)
 We'll be rearranging a few more times before it's done.  At least once this week so I can have access to my baking equipment - I've got a potluck on Wednesday and they requested cookies.  I'm thinking I'll try a new flavor - picked up some dark chocolate covered pomegranate candies at Costco - may chop up some of those to see how Greg likes it (since I'm not fond of fruit & chocolate).  And we'll have to move stuff around since it's time for the mudding / sanding routine.  I expect the whole mudding / sanding / texturing will take at least a week.  There's multiple coats of mud, so multiple sanding events before we get to spraying texture.
Another Side Note: I did help a little with the project - mostly I did a bunch of vacuuming, but I also held the sheetrock in place so Greg could screw it down.  And I made breakfast.  And I was the fetch-me girl for various items.  And I did the grocery shopping (Costco is *nuts* on Sundays - I may deserve a medal just for that!).  On the other hand, in addition to all the remodel work he got done, Greg got in a couple runs; did some planning for a group hiking trip he's taking this fall; processed the pictures he took from roller derby last weekend; and ran to the hardware store a couple times (among other things).  It doesn't seem very fair for him - but I have to admit that I'm not good at using the drill; or the saw; or the nail gun.  Well, I can use them just fine, so long as you're not too worried about speed or results - it's one or the other with me - I'm super-slow for my good results, and if I go fast most of it has to be done more than once...  I'll just make him some extra cookies for work. =)

13 March, 2010

Weekend Updates

I meant to post last weekend, but I procrastinated.  This post will be a combination for non-house-remodel-related happenings for the last couple weekends.  I'll be doing another post shortly for the remodel stuff (combining them would just be too long).
Last Friday was a tough one at work - which is disappointing, since Fridays are generally my favorite day of the week.  It was one of those days where nothing seems to go right; where I should know certain processes but no matter what I did, nothing turned out well; where I intended to get certain things done, but nothing happened the way I planned: one of those days where I felt that everyone would (or maybe should?) be questioning whether or not I was fit to be in my current position.  A real bummer.  To help cheer me up, Greg brought home my favorite flowers - and they're still making me smile every time I see them.  Thanks, Hon!
Anyhow, having most of the weekend away from work was helpful (I had to go in for a few hours on Sunday, so I could make sure everything was on track come Monday morning), and an evening of relaxing with friends and not worrying about work was just what the doctor ordered.  Lucky for me, Saturday was Roller Derby!!
It was a great bout (Anchorage vs. Fairbanks - our girls rocked!), and nice to focus on spending time with friends.  (As usual, derby pix are courtesy of Greg and his fancy-pants camera...)  I have to say, I found out I'm a HUGE fan of chocolate and... bacon.  Bacon really does make everything taste better!  If you ever have a chance, you should try Mo's Dark Bacon Bar.  We took some chocolate to the game, since we knew dinner would be late.  I'll be getting more of these (even the package looks tasty)!
Fortunately, this past week has been productive and I've been able to regain some of my equilibrium.  That's one of the benefits of time: I know I'll get through the rough patches, just have to keep my head above water long enough.   Today, I did some research for work in between helping Greg with the remodel project.  Tomorrow we'll spend more time working on the house (Greg's been getting loads done), but I took a break this evening to go to dinner with friends (Greg was on-call, so he couldn't go).  We drove out to Double Musky in Girdwood.  It's an hour drive and there was an hour wait for a table (they don't take reservations), but it was *so* worth it!
The extra daylight is noticeable again.  This means that winter is almost over and I can start looking forward to warmer temps.  The picture above was taken at 6:45pm.  Just a bit more than a month ago, it would've been dark by then.  (And since we Spring Forward tomorrow, it'll just get more apparent - yay!)  Now it just needs to warm up...

05 March, 2010

Remodel Update - Walls!

When I got home from the gym tonight, Greg was industriously working away on the house.  More progress - yay!

I'm excited to see the progress, even though we've got a long way to go yet.  There's just something about having sheetrock on the walls that makes me feel warm and fuzzy right now.  =)

As I was handing Greg the drill, he mentioned that he was probably spacing the screws closer together than he needed to.  I asked him why - since to me, that means more mudding and texturing to hide the screws when we're (read that: he's) doing the finish-work.  He said something about doing it the right way and screwing it down so he could make the wall straight (since ours are apparently crooked?).  I think it's really that he likes using power tools.  =)
The extent of my help with this part was to hand Greg the drill and some screws, steady the sheetrock if he needed it, and vacuum up the dust.  Oh!  And I made microwave nachos for us for dinner.  Hopefully we'll make good progress this weekend...  but Saturday night is reserved for ROLLER DERBY - yeah!!