Saturday, February 19, 2011

Busier Than a One Armed Paper Hanger

Man, what a busy week!

We had so much going on that I had hardly had time to take pictures nonetheless update the blog.

We had more gravel delivered (where does it go?),


and more grading done.


Builder Gary had overfilled against the house to give the dirt time to settle if it was going to.  Now that Jason the Mason is ready to start the brick foundation, it was time to scrape it back away.  Did I mention that we had to pick up the porch supports and shift them around as Jason the Grader graded around them?


Meanwhile, Builder Gary was up on the bank above the rock wall with his trusty mini hoe.  We needed to flatten out the top of the bank for the installation of a guard rail to prevent any runaway parked cars at the neighbor’s house from rolling down into us.


It was more impressive from this angle.


And here you can see how he was rounding the bank back down to the rock wall and our little Bracken Brown Beauty magnolia in the background.


Back around the other end of the master suite, is a strange site.


The plumbers have run a garden hose from the neighbor’s house to fill the pipes with water to check their work for leaks.


They hooked it up to the highest point: the cold water supply in the upstairs laundry room.


They pretty quickly found the pipe in the band room that either was cut by someone else to gain access or maybe just didn’t get glued.

They thought everything was jamb up when I came down to admire their work but then a hairline crack in a pipe began to feel the pressure of all that water in the pipes two stories above and


we soon had an unintentional sprinkler system.

In ring number three of this three ring circus, the electricians showed up to get started.


They brought miles of wire,


boxes of canned lights,


homemade spools for the wire,


amazing drills that gave me tool envy,


and lots of hands to string wire, nail in boxes and get us wired up!


William, the guy Builder Gary and I spent at least 8 hours walking through the house with, making a plan and marking everything in sharpie on walls and floors, tried to communicate those 8 hours across a language barrier in 30 minutes to the guy who was actually going to be on site supervising the work.

There were a few miscommunications like the 16 canned lights in the kitchen being put up as 6” cans instead of 5”.  That looked pretty bad.  And every time Builder Gary was gone the guy kept trying to get me to agree to run the wire the shortest distance on the porch instead of the way the wire would be discreetly hidden.

But by the end of the week, they had us wired.  We’ll have to make a few adjustments next week after the walk through, but it shouldn’t be much.


Before I even got a chance to take a picture of the jungle of wires, they had everything tamed and confined to a panel box.

Maybe this shot of one of my low voltage workers with the black board for the wire for that system will give you an idea.


Now we just need a power meter and a connection to that wonderful transformer from almost a year ago.


But, wait!

We haven’t been around to the rear driveway to see what has been delivered there.


Bricks!  Concrete Blocks! Flue liners! Mortar!  Let the fireplace begin!



Don’t forget the ash drop!




And on a beautiful week like this, we have to do some planting, right?


So we popped in the last few hollies and magnolia, and then I received a gift.


My favorite rock star and I have been discussing putting a beech tree right here under the giant poplar.  Our thought is that it will give us and our neighbors on that side a little privacy.  So she brought me a wonderful little beech that she transplanted from the garden of a friend of hers who is a plant hunter.  I can’t wait to see how it will grow.

Now don’t let your guard down, this post isn’t over.  We still have a guard rail to install.

So, “Hawk” the guard rail guy brought his crew out and got to work. 


First we moved one of the rails around to get the best placement for parking accidents.


Then they got to work with the auger,


and the post holes diggers.


This guy needs to hop to it; his helpers are already putting the first post in.


They lined up the posts with a string, and if the posts were a little too tall, they would put a piece of rebar through the hole and lift


and drop.  Rinse and repeat.


Pretty soon we had a guard rail.  It looks good, but we’ll be planting a holly hedge in front of it, so no one will see much of it.


I was a little worried that it would look bad from the back, but I think it will look very natural once the bank gets planted.


So that was my week.

No it wasn’t.  I forgot the fireplace crisis.

The gas log fireplace we had planned for the living room wouldn’t work.  We have a window above the fireplace.  No problem, right?  Just run the flue pipe around it. Apparently, there are all sorts of rules for running vent pipes from the fireplaces.  You can do two 90 degree turns or four 30 degree turns but you have to run 2 feet of vertical pipe for every foot of horizontal pipe and don’t forget about one inch of clearance around the pipes  - 0h- but that’s three inches above each horizontal pipe…

So, I had to make another journey to the fireplace store and start over.  Our only option is to do a direct vent gas fireplace that puts this


on the back wall of the house.

Even though I keep telling myself it won’t look that bad, I did spring for some “bling.” In my conversation with the fireplace salesman, he mentioned that sometimes builders put a cover over the vent to keep people from getting burned in a ground floor installation.   So, he got one for me:


I’ll have to ask an aluminum expert if it can be painted to match the house or maybe to match the exterior lights.  Anybody know where I can find an aluminum expert?

I only have one explanation for all of the craziness this week:


Need I say more?

1 comment:

  1. I'm exhausted. But now y'all have a collection place for your neighbor's soccer and basketballs.