Thursday, April 30, 2009


Yesterday was another relatively boring day as far as house progress goes. More trim sanding, priming, etc. I found out that LowesT has ceiling paint for about $30 less than Home Depot (for 5 gallons) so that's now my go to ceiling paint store. Sure, the cheaper paint may end up flaking off in six months, but I don't plan on living here six months from now, so I'm OK with it.

Portuguese Manny, who is an expert plasterist, was back to work on my second floor, taping and mudding up the drywall joints. He should be finished up by the end of this week. Very good.

As for the ongoing Electrician Ron saga, no word from him at all yesterday. I called him this morning and he actually answered his phone. Instead of a regular salutation, he went with, before he uttered any other words, "Sick like dog." Apparently he is sick. Also, apparent? He likes a good turn of phrase, since as best as I can tell, he left out important parts of the sentence (a, I'm) in order to construct a sentence very near to the more famous, "strong like bull." Clever.

My over the phone diagnosis? He smokes too much and is a bit of a whiner.

My over the phone prognosis? Not good. He will need bed rest for the next 18 weeks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Paul Pierce > Ron Costa

Yesterday at lunch, I headed to the house to meet up with my General Contractor and the guy who hands out checks. When I pulled into the driveway, there was no sign of Electrician Ron's truck. "Maybe he finished this morning," I thought. Making sure to keep my expectation realistic, I rejected that thought almost immediately, as ER has done nothing to warrant optimism from me.

I stepped into the house and immediately noticed that nothing had been done. Great. Really very great.

Shortly thereafter, Al Medina, my honest and decent General Contractor showed up, followed by Richard Who Will Pay Us. We went through the house noting the progress and he agreed to release thousands of dollars to Al and I (most of which is going straight to Al). We shook hands and I headed back to work.

After work, I got to the house, ready to change and start the drive to Boston. Ron apparently hadn't shown up, as nothing was done, so he continues to surpass my wildest expectations of unprofessionalism. I gave him a call, left a message and Amanda and I piled in the car for the game.

The game was amazing.

An aside:

When I was a kid, much younger, I went to a Bruins/Canadians hockey game with my dad. As of yesterday afternoon, it was the greatest sporting event I'd ever attended to spectate. Not really for the game itself, as I barely remember anything from it, but because of the momentous first step into adulthood I took during the game.

At one point during the game, there was a call, deemed unfavorable by the old Garden crowd, that went against the Bruins. As was (and still is) customary, the crowd began to chant "bullessword" in order to let the offending referee know that, overall, the majority of the crowd was displeased with the his apparent lack of rational decision-making. When I realized what was being chanted, I knew I wanted to join in, as I was young and was happy to follow in the mob mentality. Unsure of myself, as it's generally not OK to swear in front of your parent, I looked up at my dad, with what I assume was my best attempt at Bambi Eyes. No words were exchanged, only the silent understanding that I needed his approval to scream obscenities at a man in stripes with skates on. He nodded his silent blessing. With the approval of my father, I proceeded to rain a swear down from the balcony at the top of my lungs, over and over, until the crowd's jeers had subsided. Proud of myself, I'm pretty sure I beamed the rest of the night.

Last night's overtime game is now the best game I've ever been to. I kept the swearing to a minimum and didn't give Amanda the Bambi Eyes once (to my knowledge), but the game's occurrences were enough to solidify it at the top of my lifetime list.

Sorry for straying from the strict "house related info only" policy around here, but the game was really very good. Incredible even.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


More boring work on Monday. I don't mind it, but you'll find it super boring. Painting kitchen cabinets. Amanda painting the bathroom. Ho hum.

Today is a bigger day, as the guy who hands me money will hopefully do his job and hand me some money (or at least authorize the release of said money to me). I meet with him on my lunch break today so he can see what's been done in the house.

Also, Electrician Ron is supposed to head to the house to finish up the first floor electrical stuff (replacing outlets and switches, installing the range hood, finishing off the cable outlets, etc). Will he show up? I have no idea.

Another big thing today? I'm going to use those Celtics tickets I bought. Should be a decent time tonight.

Lastly, a question for you: Is Joakim Noah (Bulls starting Center) inbred? You be the judge...

Monday, April 27, 2009


Not much to report from the weekend. A lot of hard work happened, but mostly things that would bore you. Sanding, priming and painting.

A washer and dryer, courtesy of Judith Ann and Paul Frankin Topham, were delivered on Saturday. They were hooked up and all of that in the basement. Our piles of laundry up stairs were excitedly waiting to be washed, but alas, the Sears fellows let me know that the cold water line leaks. It needs to be replaced. sweet.

Another lovely plumbing issue presented itself. Also awesome. The drain from the kitchen sink leaks in the basement. I smell another big check to my plumber. Sigh...

Something of note happened on Sunday that had nothing to do with the house, but made me audibly gasp. While I was making some lunch on the grill, I noticed my neighbor (the non-crazy one) had a hat on. I could only see the hat, not the rest of him, because of the big white fence between us. I wish that the fence was taller. A taller fence may have just made it's way into my budget. Why? because when he walked up his back stairs to enter his house, he nodded hello and I could see his gut. And his nipples. Not pleasant.

What I gleaned from this small encounter was that my neighbor likes to sunbathe in his yard on nice days. He's paler than I am (which may not be possible), has a very big belly, and some very gross, very pointy, almost triangular b-cups. It's one thing to see a man built like that at the beach or something, but I certainly didn't expect to see such a thing in the middle of Providence while minding my own business in my back yard.

Neighbors aside, I have a big visit from the guy who gives me money tomorrow and hopefully, he'll cut a nice sized check.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I called Electrician Ron roughly 74 million times over the last few days. I hung up when the voicemail started, left a lot of messages, and got hung up on a few times. Yesterday, he answered his phone.

I'm pretty sure he didn't know it was me, as he started off with something like "I'll be back at 5." I had no idea what he was talking about, and was frankly shocked that he answered. After he mumbled through some inaudible sentences, I asked, "What?"


I asked again.

More silence.


The only reasonable explanation I can conjure is that he thought I was someone else, then realized it was me and stopped talking, then hung up.

Immediately after I realized that he had hung up on me, I called him three more times in a row. No answer. I left a message along the lines of, "it was great to hear the sound of your voice. Glad you're not dead. I know your phone works. Etc." I kept trying to call him every hour or so thereafter, with no answer.

When I left work, my phone beeped (it does that all the time when you miss a call, have a message or when it wants to annoy me). I flipped it open and saw that I had a missed call. Caller? "Electrician". Could it be true? It can't be. It is!

I immediately called him back and sure enough, someone, possibly even Ron Costa himself, answered the phone. He's apparently in LA and won't be back until Sunday. He'll come to my house on Tuesday. I remain skeptical of both his story, as well as his promise to work on Tuesday. If he shows up on Tuesday with a slight tan, I guess he was telling the truth on both counts.

Other than that, not much happened yesterday. I picked up some things from Home Depot, sanded some walls in the kitchen and looked up a place to get kitchen cabinets, which I will hopefully get today (at a Tent Sale no less. I hope there's cotton candy...).

Amanda got a sweet Dremel attachment and is patiently sanding the window trim's intricacies.

Busy weekend ahead.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This has nothing to do with the house, but I got Celtics tickets for Game 5 on Tuesday. I'm pretty pumped.

Electrician Ron and the Paint Eater

As stated earlier in the blog, Ron Costa, electrician, sucks. He's been paid, but hasn't finished his work. Worse? He won't return phone calls. My first strategy was to call him and leave a message. That didn't work. I have now turned to calling him at least once an hour, leaving a message with my phone number in it, in case he's misplaced it. It isn't working either.

While the strategy might not be getting the results I'm looking for (a call from him), it is apparently annoying the hell out of him. Three times yesterday when I called, he picked up the phone, only to hang up almost immediately. Awesome. I don't know if that's progress, as he at least picked up the phone, or if it's instead a step back. Who knows.

After work and between phone calls, I headed to Home Depot to get something that I hoped would be awesome. I saw, while researching painting tools (we have a lot of painting to do) this thing called The Paint Eater. It's basically an orbital sander with a purple chunk of sea anemone that attaches to it. It's weird looking.

I don't plan on reviewing tools on this blog, as there are plenty of reviews out there, but I'll give this one a quick pro's and con's. I'll use the compliment sandwich technique, which layers two compliments around a criticism.

Compliment - It's named The Paint Eater

Criticism - The cord is only five inches long

Compliment - It's awesome

As you can see (read), the thing is great. It makes quick work of the many many layers of paint stuck to the trim in the house. I love it. I can't wait to go home again to use it. Sure, I'll be blowing dust and paint chunks out of my nose for the rest of the day, but who cares? It's great.

Here are some pictures of where we are currently living. I took them on Saturday.

Kitchen (with new fridge):

Dining Room:

Living Room:

"Jerk Off Area":

Mud Room (where they put a lot of our crap):

Second Bedroom (where the rest of our crap is):


Bedroom Where We Sleep Right Now:

What a mess.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Not much to say about yesterday. After work, I dropped off all of my Cox cable/internet/phone equipment. Somehow, in the North Providence ghetto Cox facilities, nothing of interest happened.


Got to work sanding and prepping the bathroom for some primer/paint. Amanda kept the paint eating goo work up in the living room.


The only real interesting (and it's not that interesting) thing that happened yesterday was my eight million calls to Electrician Ron that went unanswered. I left a message on each of them. Maybe he'll call me back or answer his phone today? I doubt it. Nevertheless, I'll keep on calling him every hour or so until I actually speak with him.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Another busy day in what may end up being the busiest month I will ever live.

At lunch, I headed to the house to meet someone who wanted to turn our gas on. The only thing that is gas powered in the house is the water heater. It's kind of important. The National Grid worker gave me a call and let me know he was on his way, so I put up some more joint compound in the bathroom while I waited.

I took a peek outside and saw his truck at the curb when my phone rang. It was the fellow sitting in the truck. He informed me that he had just been called to fix a gas leak somewhere and thus, he wouldn't be turning on the gas right then. Sweet. After I explained that I can't just sit in the house all day wondering when he would be done and come back, as I have a job, he said he would try to send one of the second shift workers sometime after 5. I was not confident.

I told Amanda, who would hopefully be home from work by 5, to kindly sit and wait for the gas man to come by. She agreed, as she enjoys showers.

After work, I headed to the U-Haul rental place in lovely North Providence. I really dislike Branch Ave. After some frustrating driving, I walked into the facility to be greeted by an ultra homosexual man who rolled his eyes when he saw me coming in. I immediately felt bad for this obviously over worked man in an empty self storage facility who didn't have the time to help a paying customer. Realizing what an incredible and possibly unfair burden I was placing on this champion for hard work, I made it quick.

I explained what I needed (which was all in the reservation I made earlier), he swore his way through the paperwork (I'm not kidding, he said effword many times when looking around for things), and he handed me the keys to a bright and shiny (read: old and big) 10 foot moving truck. I left the man to his hand sanitizer (two bottles) hopped in the truck and was on my way to the Sears in Taunton, where my stove, range hood and dishwasher awaited (two of which I can't plug in. Thanks Ron).

During the bouncy ride, I got a call from the gas company and they let me know that they were on their way to the house. I called Amanda to warn her of their impending arrival, and when she picked up the phone, it sounded like she was at a party or something. She was at a party of sorts, but not the kind that anyone with ears wants to be at. She was lucky enough to be talking to our crazy neighbors. It was her first meeting. She was not disappointed.

I got the appliances, drove home and we dragged them into the house. The hot water worked and there was a man skim coating the ceiling of our first floor bathroom. Good progress.

After dinner, Amanda sanded some wood trim in the living room and I started using some of that paint removing goo on the window trim. I used that sweet Ryobi radio to listen (no cable yet. Thanks again Electrician Ron) to the Celtics get a win and an hour after that, I was almost finished. Using a painter's tool, I was scraping the last window casing when the blade slipped and the pointed corner of the tool stabbed me in the finger. Bleeding, I decided that this was a good time to end the day. Here's the offending tool, with a warning that should be on the packaging:

In short, lots got done, I bled a little and we can take hot showers now.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend (and Friday)

We moved. Into the house I'm continually writing about. It's really very weird.

Friday - After work, I went over to the house to finish up papering the floors to get ready for the movers stomping all over them. When I went into the house, I checked to see what Electrician Ron had done that morning at "7am". The answer? The bare minimum. He put one electrical outlet in the wall in the kitchen, so we can plug the fridge in, as well as hanging the bathroom lights. He put the over the mirror light in off center (awesome) and left a bunch of broken glass on the floor of the bathroom. He broke a light bulb and left some of the pieces on the floor. He's really the best.

Floor papered, I headed to our apartment and got cracking packing up the electronic stuff. I packed the ps3 and the Wii (both very important) and started on the computer when the movers arrived. I let them in and they got to work flying around the apartment throwing all of our stuff into boxes. When I finished with the computer I got them some drinks and stopped working. It was fantastic (aside from when the crazy movers would regale me with stories about their kids or other moves or random trivia or something). Amanda showed up a little later and joined me in not working.

Once the packing was done, they followed me over to the house to unpack the trucks. A few minutes after they started, I got a call from someone selling tools on craigslist. I drove to downtown Providence and met him. I bought a Ryobi tool set, still in the shrink wrap for $70 bucks. It's in the link below, but from last year. Same tools, minus one battery and plus a flashlight and radio (I would take the extra battery over the flashlight/radio combo, but for $70, I can't complain too much).


The movers finished up and left us. We had officially moved into a disaster of a house, and it was kind of exciting.

We unpacked a few things (but not much), had some dinner and went to bed.

Saturday - We woke up to the same big mess and almost immediately went out for breakfast (no stove yet). After some sloppy food at Newport Creamery, we got back to the house and found a message from my parents on my slowly dying cell phone. Apparently, they were going to head down to RI for the day to get us a wedding gift. A washer and dryer. Sweet. I called them back and they would be in RI in a few hours, so Amanda and I went to our former residence to get it clean and do some laundry.

Laundry and cleaning finished, and with my parents there, we headed to some lunch, then to your friendly neighborhood Sears. While at Sears, a salesman (of which there are thousands. It's pretty overstaffed), came up and asked if we needed any help. We didn't need it yet, as we were just browsing around.

A few minutes later, a different salesman came up to us and asked if we needed any help, during the exchange, the salesman who approached us earlier quickly said, "hey *what's his face*, can I see you for a second?"

I heard this and said, "that other salesman just pulled *what's his face* away, making sure that he got our business, and not *what's his face*. That's weird." My father took note.

When we picked out the appliances and were ready to have my parents pay for them, my dad went over to get *what's his face*. Before he could reach him, he had to pass by the original salesman, who immediately perked up. My dad said, "nope, we want *what's his face*." Original salesmen was devastated, and I was thoroughly embarrassed. After calling my dad a dick, we proceeded to give *what's his face* the pertinent info and set up delivery for next Saturday. Sweet. On our way out, it looked as though original salesman was going to punch my dad (or at least my mom, who is much smaller than Paul), but sadly, no confrontation occurred.

We got back to the house, unpacked a little bit, got some help moving some things around (not to mention 5lbs of steak tips from my parents. Thanks again), set up the TV, Wii and ps3 and my parents were on their way back to NH. Amanda and I got some snacks and watched Delirious (without the extra language):

Sunday - Long day. We got up, had some breakfast and got to work. Amanda started cleaning out the kitchen, which had accumulated pretty much everything you can imagine in it. I started on the bathroom. I put up the remaining strips of drywall, put some more joint compound up on the walls and put another bead of caulk around the tub.


Trip to Home Depot, back to work. Started stripping the super old layers of paint off the window and door trim. I got some awesome sort of super chemical at Home Depot that makes the paint bubble up and you can scrape it off (thanks for the tip dad). Since the old homeowner (dis-Handyman) used latex paint (several times) over the stained and urethaned wood, under all of the paint it was basically seeping stain everywhere. A big mess.

Amanda finished up the kitchen and papered the floor on the second floor so we can add joint compound and paint to the walls. After all of this, we ate some steak tips (delicious) and I got to work reversing the hinges on the fridge. I got the doors off, got the hinges installed on the opposite side and took a closer look at the doors. This wasn't going to work. F. While the manual says that the doors are reversible, it became clear, only after an hour of fighting with screws and bolts, that I would need to drill into the door and find a way to plug a screw hole on the opposite side of the door. I'm not about to ruin the brand new fridge. Defeated, I put the hinges back on the other side, reinstalled the doors and cried. A lot.

I read some of a book and went to bed. Long weekend, and long blog post, finished.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Big Day.

Today is, relatively speaking, a big day. We're officially moving into the construction zone that is my house. It should prove to be a stressful day.

This is long.

Yesterday, after work, I headed over to the house to finish up the bathroom floor, and tape some paper down on the brand new looking hardwood everywhere. The paper should at least temper the inevitable scratches that the super extra hyper movers will leave.

When I got to the house, the plumber was there. He basically finished up what he needed to do (hooray.), which was install a new water heater, finish up the first floor bathroom plumbing and tweak all of the radiators. Not to mention fix the exploding boiler pipes. He did all of those things, which is fantastic. The bathroom works, the heat works without incident and the new water heater is set up. Everything, at least plumbing wise, is all set for us to move in. Sadly, there are some things that aren't quite ready for us.

Firstly, the Gas company, who was supposed to turn the gas on today, isn't going to do it until Monday. F. This is bad news because the hot water heater is gas operated. This could prove to be terrible. There's a 50/50 chance that we won't be taking any hot showers in the house this weekend. It's 50/50 because the boiler, which heats the first floor, acts as a water heater as well. If the pipes from the boiler run to the first floor shower, which is possible, we will be OK. If they do not, then we will not be OK and I'll have to shower at the very nice Bally Total Fitness in Pawtucket.

Another nice thing about the gas company not showing up this afternoon is that the time they gave me for Monday is 8am to 6pm. Convenient.

Secondly, Electrician Ron was supposed to set up the bathroom and kitchen with electrical outlets yesterday. He assured me, on Wednesday, that he would have the work done by the end of the day yesterday.

Around 10am or so yesterday, my cell phone rang and I saw that it was Electrician Ron. I couldn't answer it at the time, as I was working, but I said to myself, "f. He's calling to tell me that he won't be showing up today." My thought was stifled when he didn't leave me a voicemail message. I thought, "well, any normal human being with any sense of social norms would have left a message saying that he wasn't going to be at the house today. That must mean he called to let me know that everything in the bathroom and kitchen is done. That's a relief."

When I got to the house, I checked the kitchen and bathroom for any signs of electrical work. Nothing. Awesome. Not only did he not show up and do anything, but he didn't even have the nards to tell me he didn't show up and do anything.

I picked up my cell phone and gave him a call. I was greeted by the following:

"7am tomorrow."

Not the usual phone greeting, but at least it was informative...

After I let him know how much he sucks, and he repeatedly let me know that he'll be there at "7am", I hung up and continued to work. The bathroom floor is pretty much done (I just need to pull off a piece of door trim to place the last tile), the living room and dining room are papered for the movers and the heat and plumbing are in good working order.

I went home, had some dinner and went to sleep.

This morning, I headed over to the house and got there at around 7am. No Electrician Ron.

I started to paper off one of the bedrooms and fifteen or so minutes later, I heard ER stomping around. I didn't say a word to him and hopefully, he will actually do a portion of the work he's been paid to do. Lesson learned: Not only should I not pay someone before the work is complete (I am dumb) but I shouldn't hire Electrician Ron for anything ever. Neither should you. Ron Costa is terrible.

Next update will be on Monday, as we won't have internet or cable at the house. I will probably miss the Celtics playoff game(s). Humph.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Used To Buy Vinyl.

When I lived in Philadelphia, I used to buy vinyl. My favorite store for it was The Marvelous, on 40th and Walnut. They had bins and bins of 2 for 99 cent records. I loved it.

Now that I live in Rhode Island, my go to store for vinyl products is Home Depot. It is much worse. I don't enjoy floor tiles as much as I enjoy records. Being an adult is kind of crappy.

Stories aside, I went to the house yesterday after work and got to work on the first floor bathroom, again. With a relatively clean floor, I started laying out the tiles and sticking them to the existing floor. What a pain. 18 million vinyl tile cuts and a few hours later, it was too dark to continue. "Too dark," you say? Yes, too dark. Since the electrician didn't do what I asked him to do, there's no light anywhere near the bathroom. Awesome. Thanks Dumb Ron.

I finished up with about 75% of the floor, so that's good, but I really wanted to finish the entire thing. Since I didn't finish, I'll have to do it again today after work.

One flooring realization: I need to buy knee pads. *insert favorite homoerotic joke here* My knees are killing me today.

On tap for today? Home Depot at lunch. Buy a bunch of crap to finish off the bathroom. Stop by the house. Drop it off. Back to work. Finish my work day (lame). Back to the house. Finish the floor. Plug in the fridge. Paper the floors to get them ready for the movers. Sleep (awesome).

In closing:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


After work, I headed over to the house in hopes of laying the vinyl bathroom floor tiles. Nope. I stink.

When I got there, I threw on my work at the house clothes and started working at the house. I got cracking by cleaning the the hell out of the bathroom floor. After I dragged all of the stuff out, I swept, vacuumed and mopped up. Once I had done that, I scraped the floor with a razor blade, and mopped it up again. The floor was very wet. Tile adhesive doesn't much like wet surfaces. I decided that instead of letting the floor dry while I did work somewhere else in the house, I let the floor dry while I drove home.

On the way home, I gave the electrician a call and told him to do actual work. He told me he's stuck in some "big cooling job" and the first time he could get to the house is Monday. I explained to him that he would in fact be at my house this week, as we need electrical outlets in the bathroom and the kitchen, because we're moving in before Monday. I also mentioned that he had plenty of time to do the work when I was gone for two weeks, but he decided not to set foot in the house the entire time. He said he couldn't get in because of the floors being refinished, so I reminded him that the wood floors aren't in the kitchen, the bathroom or the path to each of them, and thus, his work wasn't actually effected by the floors. I also told him that he's already been paid and he didn't do anything for two weeks, so he's going to at least get the bathroom and kitchen done by Thursday. He agreed.

That said, after work today, it's time to put the vinyl tile down.

Lastly, here's a list of things that I've purchased so far that I've always wanted:

A huge T-Square - got it.
A Shop Vac - got it.
A Reciprocating Saw - got it.

I still have some things left, as far as renovating goes, but so far I'm pleased with the above list. next up? A paint sprayer and a circular saw. Hopefully craigslist will come through for me for those things...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Newest Images.

Here are the newest images, taken this week, of the house progress:

Living room, primed & refinished floors:

Dining Room, primed & refinished floors:

Newly tiled & grouted shower surround:

Master Bedroom, floors refinished & sheetrock up:

Second Floor Bedroom, sheetrock up:

Vacation over.

I'm back. Lame.

We got back to lovely RI on Friday night. after sleeping in an awesome bed (read: almost big enough for me) for the first time in a week, I headed over to the house to check on progress and get a little work done.

Here's what I asked everyone to get done while I was gone: refinish floors, finish plumbing in the first floor bathroom, get the heat running continuously, finish replacing all of the outlets and switches on the first floor, install cable outlets on the first floor, finish first floor ceilings (kitchen, bathroom), get joint compound on all of the joints on the second floor.

Here's what was finished: refinish floors.


Here are the floors. They're not quite as dark as I'd have liked them to be, but whatever, it's done:

Once I finished up being disappointed, but not all that surprised, at the lack of work done, I grouted the first floor bath surround, cleaned up a little, and went home. I'm not quite ready for super hard work yet.

On Sunday, I patched a few holes in the bathroom walls, continued being disappointed about the work done when I was gone, and decided to get the water in the house running.

I turned on the main water valve, and went down the water lines, opening each one up one by one. So far so good. I heard something going on up on the first floor, so I hurried up stairs and listened. Luckily, it was just the radiators pressurizing, so all was well.

I started to go back downstairs when I heard what I thought was a fire hose spraying around. Intrigued, I sprinted to the sound and got to see the boiler exploding water from one of the new pipes. Brand new pipe, brand new work, brand new everything. Apparently, "brand new pipe", to my plumber, means "basement floor sprinkler system". I rushed over and turned off the main water valve, the fire hose slowed and stopped leaking, and I died a little bit.

Generally, such a thing wouldn't be a big deal, but we're moving in starting Friday. We kind of need running water. It's sort of important. Hopefully, my plumber can fix his apparent substandard work and we'll be able to take a shower.

I went home thereafter and my wife (weird) and I went to Gregg's for some sweet Easter dinner.

Yesterday (Monday) was a big deal. I went to the house after work and sprayed a few coats of grout sealer on the shower surround, cleaned up a little bit and headed home. I had to be home for 6:30 to meet with someone who wants me to pay them to pack all of our stuff up and move it to the new house.

At around 6:25, the doorbell rang. I opened the door and immediately shook two crazed hands. Two men literally ran around our apartment to check out what they'd have to do. I showed them around while these two fellows, who are essentially methamphetamine addicts, calculated the cost. After the small tour, the head of the two offered to do it for $650. I quickly agreed, shook hands 16 more times, told some stories about my time in Philadelphia (he used to own a store or two in Philly, both in the super mega ghetto) and they were on our way.

Once they left, Amanda and I realized that our stress levels had increased 13 fold, just by talking to these people. I don't have the capacity to describe these people, but I'll give it a shot. They were a mixture of that fast talking Micro Machines spokesman from back in the day, concentration camp survivors, Rolling Stones members, glue huffers and meth addicts. They were human whirlwinds. I am super excited to see these people pack up our stuff and move it in roughly 13 minutes. It's going to be hilarious, awe inspiring and probably horrifying.

This week, I need that stupid first floor bathroom to be done. I'll put the floors in today after work, drop the toilet on and set up the sink/vanity.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Last Update for Awhile.

I’m writing this from Logan International Airport, waiting to board a flight to Rich Port (Puerto Rico). I’m leaving for two weeks to get a bad sunburn, eat a lot of fish and speak Spanglish. Also, to marry another person (who is, despite Dan’s best predicitons years ago, a girl).

That aside, here’s the latest:

Friday – I was still kind of sick, but I had a lot to do before my trip, so I went to the house and sanded some walls. Once sufficiently smooth and ready for primer, I called it a day to rest up for the weekend. Lame.

During my sanding fun, another inspector came, this time for the plumbing, and he made sure to give me another stupid list of arbitrary things to do. Thank goodness.

Saturday – Up early to meet my brother in law, Eryk (pronounced, Eh-rick), for breakfast at Amanda’s restaurant. After some eggs, sausage home fries and chocolate milk, we headed to the house to get busy. The previously demoed first floor bathroom needed to start to take shape. We took out the old tub and dropped a new one in. After much hemming and hawing, we finally got the stupid tub somewhat level and headed to Home Depot in the ghetto.

Not so fast! The Home Depot, sensing that we were on our way, gave me a call. Not to tell me that they looked forward to our visit, but to tell me to go back to the house and sign for the drywall delivery. We did so and again headed to the store.

When we got back from the Depot (cement board, tile, mortar and assorted other things richer), we started to drag some of the 60 sheets of drywall to the second floor, with many breaks and complaints. After we did about half of them, we decided to get to work in the bathroom, again. We threw up some cement board and tried our best to make them the same depth as the remaining wall above. When sufficiently flush, but not perfectly so, we got to the tiling.

Flash forward a few hours and half a bucket of thin-set later, and we had a beautifully tiled shower stall:

About halfway through the tiling, we said, “Oh, we should probably bring the rest of that drywall in.” Big mistake. That S is heavy. We only brought it into the kitchen this time. Turns out it was a good idea, as 10 minutes or so after we had finished, it started to rain. Rain and drywall don’t mix so well, so I’m glad it was inside.

The last thing on the agenda was dropping the toilet in. Normally a pretty easy job, we expected to be out of there in a few minutes. Our expectations were not met.

The old drain pipe was super corroded and the toilet didn’t sit correctly. The wax ring under the toilet fit nicely, and made a tight seal, but it doesn’t matter much, as we could just lift the toilet off of the drain pipe. That is bad. We called it quits after this major setback and I noted that the plumber will have to fix even more stuff and I will have to pay for it.

Amanda spent the day helping out with some priming in rooms that were ready, Eryk headed back to NH after some dinner and I went to bed exhausted.

Sunday – Up early yet again, rented a U-Haul cargo van (which handled like a BMW) and headed to the house. I was going to pick up a fridge (from Sears) and hopefully pick up a dishwasher and range (from Attorney Hunter). I did some sanding of more walls (there are a lot of them) and headed to Sears covered in primer and thin-set.

I picked up the awesome (inexpensive) fridge, loaded it into the van and went back to the house. I lugged the fridge out of the van and wheeled it into the garage to sit, hopefully un-stolen, until we come back from vacation.

Fridge finished, time to get priming. I painted for pretty much the rest of the stupid day, ceilings included, and tried not to cry. I don’t know if you’ve ever painted a ceiling with a roller, but there are few things in life less pleasurable. Trust me.

Amanda came by in the late afternoon (after shopping all day with her friend) and helped me with some more priming. We called it quits around 7pm and headed home.

Monday – After work, I went to the house to take some pictures and drop off to-do lists for the various people who still have crap to do. Basically, the plumber needs to finish, the electrician needs to finish and my general contractor needs to finish. Also, the floors are going to be refinished while we’re gone.

The house is starting to shape up, which is nice.

For the last post in awhile, which is posted from my hotel room, here's a picture of a view from the balcony of our suite, taken minutes ago: