Thursday, December 15, 2011

We Moved!!

I've been holding out on you guys. Last week was a whirlwind of events. Monday we thought it'd be weeks before we solved this garage door issue (read about that here and here). Tuesday the garage door issue was taken care of. Wednesday we passed inspections. Thursday our power got turned on. And Saturday? Well...Saturday we moved! And I had no idea it was coming.

I have a part-time job that usually has me working 3 days a week. Monday and Tuesday were my days off, so I was working Wed, Thurs, Fri all day. On my last day off, we didn't know we'd be moving that weekend, so I had nothing ready!

My parents were planning on coming down Saturday anyway. They planned it weeks ago and the idea was to just move the stuff we wouldn't be needing over the next month (extra furniture and some boxes). We only had until 5pm because we had church obligations that we signed up for months ago and people were counting on us to be there.

In my mind, since I'd been working and Matt had been working, and we had no heads up about actually being allowed to move last weekend, I never actually considered moving everything. Obviously, we can't move if we aren't packed. And if we aren't packed, then we certainly can't start sleeping living there on the first day, especially since we had to stop at 5pm. In my mind, this would take a week and probably two weekends to get our stuff over there.

In Matt's mind, we would pack up everything and move it in and start living there all in one day. Only he didn't tell me this until Friday 30 minutes before I left for work. So we had to have a fight about that. I am way too much of a control freak to let other people pack my stuff up. I need to know where everything is and how it's organized so that I can find it later when I'm searching through boxes.

Plus, Matt has the track record of underestimating the amount of time a project takes. I've learned to multiply his estimate by 3 and that's the actual amount of time something will take. Example: "I'm going to the shop to _________. It's should only take an hour, if all goes well." When does anything "all go well"???

I was trying to be the rational, realistic one and explain to him that we can't move all our stuff in one day! Does he even know how much stuff we have?? I have more stuff than any woman I know my age. He has more stuff than any man his age. And our square footage just got cut in half.

Saturday came and all four of our parents came over to help pack and load stuff. The men loaded furniture into the covered trailer that Matt's parents own. The women wrapped dishes and other kitchen stuff into boxes.

The men went ahead and took the furniture over and started moving it into the house. When I got there I saw this:

So crazy to see a living room finally here!!

After unloaded the boxes from the cars, we stopped for lunch.

After seeing our living room set up here, I started getting really excited. I told Matt to go get our bed and dressers so we could sleep here.

Again, we had to stop working around 4:30-5 so we could get ready to go work a youth Christmas party (they were feeding and entertaining 130 middle/high schoolers so they really needed every adult they could get!).

Although rushed, it was really exciting to take a shower in the shower we tiled for the first time.

I'm not even going to show you the tub right now. The dust and blobs of grout never got cleaned out since we just got the power/well pump turned on two days before we moved. It's nasty looking!

I did get pictures of the house when we got home at 10pm. So this is how it looked at the end of the moving day (Dec. 10)

The next time you see it, it should look a lot different (unless you are coming by in person in the near future. Then, I can't promise anything)

We still have to build shelves in all the closets before we can unpack anything. So far, there is nothing in our master closet. We're getting by on just the few accessible clothes. And that 14 ft enclosed trailer? It's full of stuff and will stay that way a while.

So, I guess both Matt and I were right (Matt was probably more right). We did start living there that day, but we did NOT get all our stuff moved! We probably got 70% of it. There were two more trailer loads left that we had to come back and get this week.

P.S. Lucy absolutely loves our new shag rug.

My precious!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let There Be Light!

As I said earlier, we passed our final inspection last Wednesday (Dec. 7th), and the order was put in to turn our power on. Thursday we got word that that had happened. Matt called me at work and asked me to meet him at the house that evening for a "turning on the lights" celebration.

We weren't sure how dramatic it would be or if they would come on at all.

As shown in this video, it didn't really go as planned.

The garage lights wouldn't come on at all, but the flood lights did. Matt fidgeted with it for a while to make sure all the ground-fault outlet were turned on. They were.

Not really caring about the lights in "man's land", I gave up pretty quit on that project and wanted to go upstairs!

Let's try this video reveal again.

Now for the tour:

In addition to the garage lights not working, there were several other issues. In several places we found either a switch that didn't work, or a light that didn't have a working switch to it, or a light that was supposed to have two switches to it but they aren't communicating properly.

Thankfully, the electrician came out the next day to fix everything. This company is very good and this does not reflect their normal quality of work. We know people who can vouch for their work. The guy that came out was very embarrassed. He worked on our switches for 4 hours and then had to go. This involved removing all the problem switches and testing the wire to see what the problem was. It's not hard work, just slow and tedious. He didn't have time to finish and we also need more time to live with it so we can find all the problems so they only have to come back once.

Check back soon for even more exciting updates!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Garage Door Update

Where we last left off with the garage door was we were planning on removing it entirely to pass final code. That was Friday the 2nd. As we thought about it over the weekend, we didn't like that idea at all (although it was our only option). Since our door was a cheap one from Craigslist, it wasn't insulated.

As much as we use the garage as a workshop during the winter, we really needed it to be insulated since it's not heated. The garage will be SLIGHTLY heated simply because it's right under heated living space. If it's 35 outside, it might be 45 in the garage. And in reverse, the garage will act as a buffer between the cold outside and the warm inside, making it more efficient to heat the upstairs...slightly.

If we have to go to all the trouble to take down a cheap door, Matt really didn't want to install the cheap uninsulated door AGAIN (which is why we were looking for brand new doors). The problem there was that they would take 4 weeks to come in. 4 weeks of having half of our belongings totally out in the opened, not lock up or anything. That just didn't appeal to us.

Monday afternoon (a week ago), Matt called me and told me his mom had been networking trying to find out the manufaturer of our door (there are no names anywhere on it). After making lots of phone calls not only had she found out who made it, she also found a company that sells the rib kits and keeps them in stock. Not only that, she had already met him at our house to take measurements and he was planning on coming back the next evening to install them AND insulate the door!

We got the rib kit, the insulation panels, and the labor to install both next day all for $500.

I couldn't believe how everything just fell into place like that.

It's also a little frustrating that our construction manager couldn't do that weeks ago, but I can't really blame him for not caring as much as Matt's mom does. She really gave 110%. That's a mother for you.

Like I said, Tuesday evening the door ribs were installed. Then, Wednesday morning we had round two of final inspections. This time we had Scott inspect the frame. He's who we usually have, but didn't have the first round of finals. Our impression is that Scott is not as picky, so we're wondering if Scott would have given us as long of a list.

As for round two...we passed!

The county then puts in the paperwork to Duke Power for them to come turn our power on.

The next step is waiting for lights!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We're Floored!

In addition to passing inspections, we also had to get the floor finished before moving in our furniture. I bought the flooring from Ikea back in September (jumped the gun on that one, didn't I?).

It's "click and lock" laminate for around $1 a sq ft (pretty much as cheap as they come). On November 12th we starting installing it (and finished December 3rd).

We got this much done the first night (to the edge of the hallway).

I should add that under the flooring you're supposed to lay these thin sheets of foam. They are for sound dampening and also helps level the floor in case there are any imperfections or bumps under there.

Something I didn't know about "click and lock" flooring: it doesn't "click and lock".

That makes it sound super easy to put together. In reality, this tongue and groove flooring has to be lined up perfectly with the other row, then beat on the long side with a rubber mallet until it seats. Then, beat on the short side to slide it into position. I guess there's a reason they make it super tight. You don't want them shifting or coming out ever again.

This flooring is referred to as a "floating floor" because it doesn't get attached to anything (not nailed down or glued). The shear weight of it keeps it together and secure (more on the weight of it here).

Also, anything made of wood (it's not solid wood, but more like pressed wood with lots of glue) is very susceptible to changes in humidity. In the summer, wood will swell. In the winter, it will dry out and shrink. If we nailed or glued this flooring to the subfloor, and it swelled, we'd end up with wrinkles. Thus the "floating floor". We learned we're supposed to leave at least a 1/4 inch gap along all the baseboards as growing room called the "expansion gap". Then, to hide that gap, we installed quarter-round along all the baseboards.

At the end of the second day, we were here:

Here's a behind the scenes looks at the other half of the room:

That is before it got messy.

We worked our way from the front of the house to the back, doing the living room portion, then the second bedroom, then the hallway (to connect those two rooms), and on from there.

Next, came the real challenging part. What to do with the door jams and trim? So far, we've just been dealing with regular walls and baseboards. If we left a visible expansion gap, we couldn't cover it with quarter-round here because you can't put quarter-round in a door jam (the door couldn't close) and it would look stupid to have quarter-round on door trim.

After doing some research, I learned that we needed to "undercut" the door trim and jam. Either with a hand saw or a special power saw (called a jamb saw) that can get that low to the floor.

Check out this video on youtube that illustrates what I'm talking about.

We tried the hand-saw method (or rather Matt did). It was highly frustrating, so I searched for a jamb saw to buy or rent. No luck there. So, Matt called a contractor friend and asked if he had some kind of saw that would work for this project.

He did. Not a jamb saw, but a multi-tool saw thingamajig that is good for more than just this project. We borrowed his and it worked great (we should probably get our own someday).

Here is a piece going in to the first jamb.

Perfect fit. Sorry for the poor lighting.

Undercutting the door jamb still lets us have a hidden expansion gap.

That's a florescent light leaning against the door that we were working by. Drop cords everywhere!

All finished!! Beautiful right?

There was saw-dust everywhere!

The quarter-round came pre-primed, but I decided it would be easier to paint it BEFORE it was installed against our pretty new floors. It was outside drying.

We really used twice this much. Now all I have to do is patch the nail holes and do a little touch up paint (later on).

I don't have a picture of the quarter-round installed.

And just keepin' it real, here's an in progress shot of our pretty kitchen counters during this messing project.

Also covered with dust.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Gas Pumps

This is just a little public service announcement. Something that happens to me far too often. I try to be patient because people don't know any better.

If you are pulling into a large gas station to fill up, and the station isn't busy at all (as in only 1 or 2 cars at a station that has 10 or 12 pumps), please don't pull up to the only diesel pump there is. Or if you do, and I pull up and park behind you to wait, don't give me dirty looks. It's the only pump I can use with my diesel car!

I never used to pay attention to this until we owned a diesel car, but generally it's only the larger stations that have pay-at-pump diesel, and they either put it on a pump at the end, right next to gas...

Or, it's in a separate stand all together in between the gas pumps. An easy way to tell is? Diesel pumps are always green, so they stand out. Either way, they are completely blocked off to me when you choose to get your gas there. Obviously, if the station were crowded, I don't expect you to avoid using an opened pump. I'm just talking about when I am one of two or three cars at the station and have to line up behind you, while all the other gas pumps are unoccupied.

Sometimes, this is the 2nd or 3rd gas station I've had to pull into in order to find pay-at-pump diesel (yes, I'm lazy and don't want to walk inside twice. would you??). I have a diesel car because I get better gas mileage than any other gas powered car, included many hybrids. Modern day diesel car engines are cleaner burning than other old-school kind and will help reduce our country's dependency on oil, as explained in this video.

Diesel may cost more per gallon, but that only works out to less than $2 per tank and I'm not going to trade 40-45 mpg for 25-30 mpg over $2. It might be inconvenient, at times to fill up, but we love our car and the cost savings is so worth it.

Just don't use the pumps on the ends.


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