I know it's been FOREVER since we've posted and the e-mail today did prompt me to write a post. (I actually haven't read the entire e-mail from Houseblogs, but I'll add that to my long to-do list.) The roof did get done, we finally got gutters on about a month ago, and there has been some other progress (including having another child, Baby Bea), but I will stick to today's post for now.
I was driving the kids home from daycare when Atticus saw a big moving truck and asked, "What's that truck doing?" I told him it was a moving truck and when we looked at the houses, a house had been torn down and I told him, "Look- they tore down a house!" He replied, "That's sad, mom."
That's when I knew he was our kid.
I told him maybe the packed the house up into the moving truck.
He replied, "Maybe they are fixing it and they are going to put it back!"
I agreed and said that would be great.
A future houseblogger in the makings!
That's all for now-
The crew showed up on Monday to deliver materials and get stuff set up. Yesterday they arrived and got right to work. In no time, half the roof was off:
We also decided to have all the old bead board, that is covered with that awful paint with sand in it, taken off and replaced. It added quite a bit to the cost, but it will be so much nicer.
Luckily we have a good, solid week of sunshine in Seattle this week, so weather won't slow this project down. It's a bit strange having other people here working on the house, but I can't imagine how long it would have taken us to complete this project. Some things are just better left to those who get paid for this kind of work! Here's a view from the back yard:
It will be fun to see what they get done today!
So we got a bid for a roofer, he said he could do it this summer, then it was next year, and then we convinced him that we really wanted it done by Oct. and he agreed. He then called tonight and said he could start next week.
Now it's time for me to take some "before" pictures so everyone can understand how excited I am to get a new roof. Granted, I could think of lots of ways to spend them money, but I will rest peacefully knowing that there is no water coming into the closets and that whatever is under the current layers of roofing is not something rotting away.
I'll try to post again soon with the before pictures.
As we await the estimate for a new roof, I found this cost estimator online. I guessed the measurements, and it only has the basic information, but I really liked the price it came up with! To have our old roof torn off and new 30 year roof put on, it would only cost about $3,000.
Could I please order this roof online and set up delivery and installation for next week?
Things have been slow around here in terms of house work. It may be directly proportional to how busy Atticus is: if we could just absorb his energy we might be able to get work done during his nap instead of needing naps ourselves!
So what have we accomplished? A little bit, including:
- removing the rest of the siding from the south side of the house
- Nick and his dad finished building the sashes for the windows and we have the glass: they just need to be assembled, varnished and primed.
- added a shower extension to the clawfoot tub.
- had someone come over to prepare a bid for a new roof.
We're still waiting to hear back from the roof guy, so we're working on getting another bid. If we are really lucky we will have a new roof, new windows (at least on the first floor), and some siding this year. We do need to speed things up a bit...
So I haven't done much around the house lately. I'm not even sure what my last "real" project was.
Today I cleared off the concrete countertops and put a new layer of wax on them and polished them.
Does that count for home improvement?
If I had a free weekend & Atticus was truly old enough to help, what would I do?
1. Sleep. And then take a nap. Read a book and sleep some more.
2. Attack the garden and make it look cool.
3. Finish varnishing the kitchen cabinet doors.
That's probably a bit ambitious for one weekend.
Maybe the nap and mowing the lawn would suffice...
There was a cool (short) article in the Real Estate section of this Sunday's Seattle Times about a company called "Tiny Texas Houses". They build small houses (think 10'x16'') out of reclaimed materials. You can buy one for $30K to $60K.
Tiny Texas Houses
Trissa's brother has property in Winthrop, WA, and has a "tiny house" on the property. It's roughly 10'x12' and has a kitchenette, a bath with shower, and a sleeping loft. We call it "The Love Shack".
This would be my dream job, I think: to design and build tiny houses out of reclaimed lumber.
I'm still unemployed and have a bunch of free time, so last week I worked on a project I've had on the back burner for a while.
Nick's Graphing Mortgage Calculator
There are a zillion mortgage calculators on the web, some of which are similar to this one. Mine is written in Flash, and has a graph that updates to show you the amount of principal and interest you are paying over the course of your loan. It's fun to play with, I think.
Bookmark my calculator and check back once in a while - I have some additional features in mind that I'll hopefully add soon. Show your friends too!
Here's what it looks like:
Week two didn’t feel as productive as week one. The dent in the sofa cushion is definitely more pronounced. Here’s the list:
1. used up left over insulation I had laying around in the shop, to insulate a portion of the shop ceiling. This took all of 10 minutes.
2. glued up the two large 44”x48” window sashes. One of them came out slightly out of square and I’ll have to figure out what to do about that.
3. picked up all of the glass and channel balances from White Center glass. I carried all 12 sheets and they’re now hanging out in the wine cellar.
4. helped our neighbors install a ceiling fan they had laying unopened in a closet for the last two years.
5. lots of job applications, resulting in a variety of phone calls, tech-screens, and recruiters jamming up my inbox.
Oh, and Atticus and I built a box together in the shop, at his bench. He decided to decorate it with marker:
I spent some of my time last week repairing the workbench my dad sent, which was busted up by UPS. The repairs involved fabricating new pieces for the top, a new piece for the frame, and fixing the side panel. I also re-fastened the plywood bottom which had broken loose, and re-glued the stops that determine how far the drawers can slide in. When it was all back together I scraped down the top, applied few coats of Varathane, and reinstalled the vice. You can clearly see which pieces are new in the photos, but overall I dont think they detract any from the bench or its history. If anything it now has a more colorful story.
Atticus didn't need much prompting to know that it was his. I stashed his hammer and measuring tape in the top drawer and once he found them there he knew it was his. He'll definitely grow into it - at the moment he needs to step up on block of 4x6 to be able to work at it.
Being unemployed hasn't helped my stress level much, but it's starting to have an effect on the various projects around here:
- I've got
three four window sashes glued up. nine eight more to go.
- I glued up two remaining cabinet doors for the kitchen
- Also the door of the island garbage pull-out
- Cut, assembled and glued up the two drawer fronts for the nook
- Fixed my old (now Atticus') workbench. Thanks, UPS.
- Listed on Craigslist, and sold, my old benchtop router table, to a 14yo kid who'd mom brought him over. He's going to make signs with it.
- Listed on Craigslist, and sold, my folding portable mitre-box stand. I didn't have room for it anymore and now that major construction is done I don't need the saw upstairs anymore.
- Cleaned my shop, in preparation for the new cyclone dust collector I ordered a few days before getting laid off.
The dust collector is an Oneida Portable. It was supposed to arrive today, but didn't. Here's a picture:
Well, it wasn't a great day. My company notified me this morning, along with the engineering team I ran, that they decided to lay us off effective immediately and move the positions overseas. There have been a number of layoffs in the past few months so this didn't come as a huge surprise. But it was still a surprise. My team was awesome.
I'm employable. We'll be okay here at Pigeon Point Project.
Maybe now I can get some house projects done?
A quick update about this topic.
The morning after my previous post on the subject, a man from U.P.S Store HQ contacted me. He had read my post (is he a Houseblogger? Is it his job to mine the internet for words like "U.P.S." and "destroyed"?) and said he wanted to investigate our claim further. He passed us off to another employee who called me on the phone, as well as my father. After a few days of phone tag and investigation, U.P.S. agreed to refund our shipping cost ($175). We asked for consideration for the damage but didn't get it. My understanding is they felt that because the U.P.S. Store had offered to my father to alternatively ship it via freight (for $475), we had passed on an option that may have avoided the damages.
Whatever. I'm satisfied, and I'm impressed that U.P.S. followed up the way they did. I'm not impressed with the original service, but at least they paid attention to our situation.
And, I'm well underway to repairing the damage. I've reproduced one of the missing pieces and started two more. I'll post pictures soon.
01/18/2008 Update: I have an update to this post, which I've placed at the end.
01/23/2008 Update: I've made a second post about this, here.
Once upon a time, when I was 3 or 4, my dad made me a workbench. People are always asking me how I learned to build all the stuff that I do, and I can only attribute my skill to that workbench. Some of my earliest memories involve hammering, sawing, and building various projects on my bench, while my dad worked at his own, taller bench.
My bench was 4 feet long, 2 feet tall and about 26 inches deep. The top was made of laminated strips of wood, like a butcher block or any “real” bench. The base was painted green and had three drawers and a cabinet with a door that automatically sprung itself shut. One birthday my dad bought me a vice for my bench, so I could clamp things while I worked on them.
This year my son Atticus will turn 2. At 20 months, his favorite activity in the world is to be in my shop with me, ‘working’ with scraps of wood and the tools I let him use. Not only does Atticus know the names of all the tools, he can say most of them. And he can use them too: Atticus can pick up a screw, place it in a hole in a piece of wood, and screw it in using either a screwdriver or the Bosch driver. Oh, and he can swing a hammer and hit a nail. This is scary stuff – a 20-month old who can hit a nail with a hammer and drive a screw. Seriously. Watching him in the shop makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, and now I’m determined for this prodigy of mine to have my old bench.
My dad and I began talking about how to ship my old workbench from Wisconsin to Seattle. I assumed it would have to ship freight due to the size and weight (it weighed 150lbs). But dad called a few places, and UPS said they could ship it for $175, delivered to my door. (Which is no small benefit seeing as we have 33 steps up to our house from the street.) We decided to ship UPS.
A few days after dad took the bench to the UPS Store in Madison it showed up on my stoop…broken to pieces.
The top was busted into three pieces which were now haphazardly screwed to the base, and it was clear that at least 3 pieces of the top were missing. One corner was crushed, and one side panel had broken out. Other structural parts of the base were out of skew. It is clear as day to me that the bench had been dropped from a considerable height, and had landed on a corner.
I called my dad with the news, and then I called UPS to complain. UPS told me they would send someone to my home to investigate, but instead they called back to perform a “telephone investigation”. This investigation involved two questions: Describe the item and how it arrived, and describe the packaging. I described the workbench and how it was broken. And I described that there was no packaging, that the UPS Store had advised my dad that due to the size, weight, and solid construction, there was no need to package it. The woman was clearly unimpressed with this and informed me that the investigation was over, and that we could call the UPS Store after 24 hours for the result. She wouldn’t give me the result herself because UPS is “the carrier” and the UPS Store is the “shipper” and only the “shipper” can know the result of the “investigation”.
When my dad called the UPS Store tonight they informed him that UPS would not be taking any responsibility for this broken shipment due to insufficient packaging.
In my opinion UPS and the UPS Store share blame. UPS Store advised my dad that the bench should / could ship sans packaging. And UPS dropped the bench in shipment, and delivered it with missing parts. UPS says the bench had insufficient packaging, but their subsidiary advised us that packaging was unnecessary. Since UPS Store didn’t damage the bench, they are not to blame, and since UPS only damaged it because it was insufficiently packaged they are not to blame either. How f-ing convenient for them both.
01/18/2008 Update: The morning after I posted this I received an email from Rich Hallibrin who works in public relations for UPS Store. He put me in touch with another representitive who is now reviewing our case in further detail. I'll post more information when I have it.
Nick's got all the pieces cut for the rest of the first floor windows and has done a dry fit. This week he will order the glass and after that comes, he will begin assembling them.
I've been thinking about the backsplash in the kitchen and how high I want it to go on the wall next to the stove and in the baking center. I can decide, so we're holding out on a final decision and what to do on the edges.
Our next non-window related project is to build a mock "Learning Tower" for Atticus. Basically it's a fancy stepstool that has a railing all around it so he can't lean back and accidentally fall over. He loves to help and see what we're doing, and he's pretty insistent about what he wants. (I don't know where he gets that from! :) )
We've drawn up our own plans, but ours is a bit different. The platform
wouldn't be adjustable and it would have two steps leading up to the
platform. We're afraid that once we make one, we'll need two. One so he
can help out in the kitchen, and the other for the shop...
So, we're hoping that if we let him help when it makes sense, then he'll grow up liking to cook us meals,
wash our dishes,
and build us things!