Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nice Cans!

Garbage cans that is!  And by garbage, I mean compost, recycling, and garbage cans!  The order I put in with Sunset Scavenger finally arrived.  I got some brand new, no holes garbage, compost, and recycling bins!  I asked for the larger recycling and composting bins, since there's a lot of yard waste to get rid of.  Pics to follow!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Contractor FAIL

To add to the contractor failings:

Sandra's sister's back up here, and she needed some stuff - like her bed and blankets, etc.  We went into the garage to check them out, and noticed that a ladder was missing.  I looked in the backyard - not there.  I checked upstairs - not there.  Did they take it!?  Anywho, I was left with no way to get up to the top storage area today.  The white wooden ladder was strewn over the couch.  These jackasses didn't even put anything away.

To make things worse, Chuy and I crushed and folded a lot of the card board boxes in my place (we actually did all of them).  I had slowly been fitting what could go into the recycling bin each week, just taking out of the uncrushed box what fit in the blue bin.  For some reason, the contractors decided to take the uncrushed box and pour out everything onto the floor!  Nice little mess now for me to clean.  Once a car's in here, there's no way they'll be able to get their truck in here, and no more shit from them I need to deal with.  They also keep stacking my sister's garbage on top of my trash cans.  WHY!?


The time has finally arrived!  After two weeks of waiting, PG&E came in and turned on the gas!  Well, I was out of town last week, so it was really only like one week.

There were some issues that needed to be cleared up, though.  The meters looked like work had been done to it.  Luckily, according to Ben (the PG&E guy), the work done to mine was done by PG&E.  He explained that they use green pipe dope, and the pipe thread on mine had green.  The other meter, though, had white pipe dope and some putty looking stuff on it.  Oh well, not my problem!

Ben came upstairs to look at the dryer and stove connections.  Apparently, the valves I got to replace the old ones had, "appliance tips," meaning the connection from the valve can go right into the gas supply line!  Sweet!  He helped me take out the extra part, reconnect it, and all was well.

He turned on the gas to the building after making sure both units' gas mains were off.  He marked the meter where the gas was currently, then turned the gas main on to my unit!  We waited a few minutes to make sure there were no leaks (the meter would move).  Nada.  Suweeeet!  Both the stove and dryer have electric ignitions, so there was no need to light the pilots.  He turned on the burners to "Light" and waited.  As the air cleared the line, I could slowly start to smell the gas.  Then, the burners lit!  It was pretty exciting.  I'll admit to being a lot more excited about seeing this than I should be, but shit - this means everything's good to go!

Ben turned on the dryer, waited a bit, then opened it.  Warm.  NICE.

We went down to the garage.  He had to loosen the pipes to the heater and hot water heater to get the air out of them, then he lit the pilot to the heater.  He then got the hot water heater set, lit, and running.  DONE.

He advised me to wait about an hour, then fill the bathtub up about half way to clear out the hot water from the tank.  The tank will refill, heating the water as it came in, saving the gas it'd take to heat the whole thing.

I waited about 15 minutes, then checked to see if I had hot water.  I had warm water, but I was still ecstatic.  I really can't tell you, nor do I want to admit to it, how many times I went over to the stove and lit the burners.  Yes, I was really that excited.

Next up: the big move.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Well, Kinda.

The stove has a bracket that needs to be drilled into the floor boards.  It's called an anti-tip bracket.  My guess is that it keeps the damn thing from tipping over if someone happens to pull on it.  Either way, that little bracket took a whole 15 minutes to put down!  The stove came with instructions and a template about how to put the bracket down.  I skipped it.  These templates have been worthless!  I pushed the stove to where it needs to be.  I lined it up with the microwave, then using super sophisticated 2010 technology, I took out my #2 pencil and traced the foot of the stove.  While looking at it, I thought to myself, "Well shit, ROB, why not just put the bracket on now, and trace that?!"  And so it was done.  I pre-drilled two 1/8 inch holes, secured the bracket using the bolts that accompanied the stove, and voila!
If only I had gas...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Contractor FAIL

It's pretty awesome that my sister's contractor parks his GINORMOUS truck in the garage by backing it in.  His awesome powers of deduction have taught him to park it well while in reverse.  His thought process probably goes something like this:  Backing up the truck, Beep, Beep, Beep, boom!  HHhhmmm.  I must have hit the couch.  Let me push it all the way back to make sure my ginormous truck fits, since I'm too incompetent to park my truck in the driveway.  Beep, beep, BOOM!  Cool.  Couch = smashed, truck = in the garage.  Time to go to work!

Wut an a$$.

Almost there!

We're so close to being down with work on the house, I can pretty much just sleep there already!  And if I do, that's pretty much all I could do.  Due to the fact that my sister had PG&E shut off the gas to the whole building, and not just her unit due to a gas leak completely contained within her unit, I can't turn on my gas.

I called PG&E today, and the first person I spoke with told me that because the person who shut down the gas told them it was for construction, I needed to pay for a gas inspection report to show them before they'd turn the gas back on!  What?!

I called again to speak to someone else. This time, I preempted the conversation with, "work was done to my sister's gas lines in the other unit, but none to mine."  Sweet.  I have to make an appointment now.  I'm out of town for a week starting Friday, and go figure that's their soonest appointment.  I scheduled it for August 23rd after 5 PM.  It'll be a done deal that day!  I'll have gas, two tv's, and an XBox set up.  What else do I need, right?

We spent the afternoon cleaning up around the house.  All the extra drywall pieces still laying around got moved down to the storage room under my kitchen.  The back room got vacuumed, and all the paper covering the floors has been removed.  The regular masking tape sticks to the floor like crazy, and it's a pain in the ass to remove all the adhesive.  Hopefully the steamer will get it off.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Front Bedroom Coming Together

Today, we brought over the box spring and mattress for the bed!  We loaded them into the house with a few other items, then brought the van back home.  We returned to begin cleaning and stuff.  

While I sorted out the items in the garage to separate the two halves (mines vs. my sister's), Sandra steam cleaned the bed frame, box spring, and mattress.  I stopped by and thought it looked really cool when she was steaming the mattress.  The steam came out the other side!

I washed the sheets that we picked up for the bed the night before, so they were ready to put on.

The $1.99 curtain rod from Ikea is now up as well.  The blanket covering the window still looks a bit funky.  we must revisit that soon.  

We picked this steam cleaner up.  If you've ever seen the infomercial, don't believe it.  This is a steam cleaner.  Not a vacuum, not a mop, just a steam cleaner.  It will super heat water to create steam and that steam will kill anything you put it to.  It will also cook your hand or face if you point it there, so be CAREFUL!  It's well worth the $50 to avoid using chemicals on everything!

Another Sunday Fun Day!

Another Sunday Fun Day!

Geez, how I long for my lazy Sundays!  Not.  Sandra does miss them though.  We spent the day at the house today staring at the cabinets in the wall and trying to figure out how to place the microwave on there.  I was impressed by the fact that the cabinets were still up.  Now, they're supposed to hold this microwave?!  Acks.

Just to be completely sure these cabinets were secure, I did a few pullups on them.  :-)  They're good.

I added the 3/4 inch plywood underneath the cabinet to reinforce the opening.  Since I had drilled the holes in yesterday, all I had to do to line up the holes was match the opening for the electrical cord, clamp it down, then drill through the cabinet bottom.

As you can see, the clamp wasn't really holding the wood too well.
Here's the center line of the cabinets.  The instructions keep referring to the center line.  I wish they'd have marked the damned center line on the back or top of the microwave!

Here's the plywood on top of the microwave.  I figured that if I used the plywood to line up the holes, I could also use it as a template for the bottom of the microwave.  It didn't turn out to be that simple.  Although the holes in the cabinet were really, really close to where they needed to be, I still had to use a drill to expand them so the bolts could fit straight down to the microwave.

All in all, we lifted the microwave about 10 times.  The was a bracket that mounted to the wall that had to be installed first.  (Looks like I didn't take any pictures of it.)  It had to be a certain distance away from the bottom of the cabinet, but with the bracket there, the microwave was too far from the cabinet (roughly 1/2 inch).  So, we lifted the bracket to get the vent to line up to the existing vent, and have the top of the microwave flush with the bottom of the cabinet.  Because the microwave hooked into the bracket then rotated back to the wall, this 1/2 inch vertical movement closed the amount of room for the rotation.  A little encouragement got the microwave past this, and Sandra quickly bolted the microwave in while I held it.

If you look at the time stamps, it's easy to think that this took us about 5 hours.  I'd say it took us about 3 weeks.  I kept staring at it all, very afraid to install any of it.  It's up now.  Let's hope it stays that way!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

East Bay Trip

After a fun day at the house, Sandra decided she wanted to see Felicia out in Hayward.  We took this trip out to the East Bay to also stop by Ikea and check out the light fixtures.

I want to get rid of the hanging orb in the hallway since it does such a horrible job of lighting the hallway.  It lights the stair case, but that's about it!  I think track lighting in the shape of an L would be sufficient.  The Ikea Sanda system would work well for what we need.  It will, however, cost about $300 for everything we need.

We passed on buying the lights now and picked up two curtain rods for $1.99 each and a sheer curtain for the dining room.

Cabinet Time!

Enough bitching around, yeah?  Just put up the damned cabinets already!

I know I've been reticent about installing the cabinets on my own.  So much could go wrong, that I just wanted to make sure they were done right!  With the help of millions of people (more like 2) on the internet, I garnished the bravado to attempt this on my own (with Sandra's help and input).

We had everything we needed to put them up: a level, 3 inch self drilling wood screws, liquid nails, the cabinets, and an entire day!  Naturally, we started the day by picking up some burritos and having lunch at the beach.

Our hunger satiated, we went back to the house to begin the task at hand.

Here's the wall:
It's a little hard to see in this picture, but we drew lines on the wall to mark where the cabinet will go.  It was a very un-scientific method.  We did it by holding up the cabinet to where it should be on the wall and marking where the studs will be on the cabinet.  This was so I could pre-drill the holes for the screws.

I used a 3/16's inch drill bit to pre-drill the holes in the cabinet. After I drilled the holes (two on top, outside the cabinet, two on top inside, two on bottom inside, and two on bottom outside), Sandra applied liquid nails to the edges of the cabinet.  This thing needed to be SECURE.

It went up like a charm!

I marked the wall next to it for the other cabinet, pre-drilled the holes again, and Sandra applied liquid nails again.

After securing it to the wall with the 3 inch nails, I wiped off any excess liquid nails that came out of the sides.

The cabinet ended up being a little too tall to be flush with the center cabinet.  The bottom, though, should line up to the metal edge of the microwave.

We left, so this could all settle.  Hopefully it'll all still be up tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Painting the Heater Vents

The base boards and walls were pretty much painted in the living room, dining room, and front bedroom.  One thing that always kind of bothered me was how ugly the heater vents were.  We couldn't find any place that sold newer replacements for these vents, so Sandra removed the existing ones, and I cleaned them off in the backyard a few days ago.  Keep in mind that by cleaned them off, I mean I hosed them down.  That was a much needed hose down, too.  All of them had grayish water streaming from them.  I also sprayed them down with TSP to further reduce the gunk.  We left them sitting inside to dry.

Today, I painted them with the semi-gloss.