Friday, March 25, 2011

Power to the People


This is what we were waiting for yesterday. 

There were no brick masons around, because they didn’t have enough brick left to do a full day’s work.


Now that they are bricking the inside of the carport/party pavilion, they are really going through the bricks.


I hope they get started on the arches today, I can’t wait to see what they are going to look like.

Earlier in the week, I whispered to Gary the Builder that I didn’t think they were putting in the weep holes the way they were supposed to.  So Gary and Jason the Mason showed me.


They are practically invisible!


They just take these clear plastic tubes and put them through the brick and you can hardly see them.  Any moisture that accumulates won’t have a chance!

And speaking of Power to the People, Georgia Power’s sub came out on Tuesday to connect the house to the transformer.


I came upon this scene as I came around the block from walking the dog.  I had missed the whole boring show.


They bored right down the bank, under the boulders and to the house.


They even pulled the cable for AT&T and Comcast without any help or prodding from me.

So, I turned my attention elsewhere.  I got busy hanging light fixtures


and picking out granite slabs


Don’t you just love these DIY places?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Masonry 101


I have been learning all about the art of masonry. I am hoping to earn my mortar board, but I don’t think I’ll want to wear it.

My head professor has been Jason the Mason.


Knowing that I am a visual learner, he drew me a picture of how the arches in the carport/party pavilion will look. I asked him what CAD program he used and he held up a brick and a pencil.


They seem to be his tools of choice.


However, he did look right at home with this nail gun when they needed a little more support for the brick arch around the garage door.


He was getting some good assistance from Santa and this fellow,


whose job it was to cut on the penciled line.


I think his mama would prefer a little more safety equipment.


But what do I know? Maybe the cigarette and the spider man tattoo on is elbow are all the protection he needs: the cigarette smoke forms a protective fog over his eyes and the tat makes sure his spidey senses are tingling when the blade gets too close to his fingers.

They all make a good team, though. When I checked back in after a study break, the arch was complete.


So, I continued my quest for knowledge.


Wall ties, I learned, are inserted every 5th course of brick. A course is a horizontal row of bricks. When the bricks are stacked on edge, as they are over the arch, they are called a soldier course. I guess some bored mason’s kids started using bricks to play soldier with and stood them on end for their formations.

Now see if you can identify the mystery picture below.


Can you guess?

If you guessed that it is the back side of the bricks, you are right. I’m always sticking my camera where it doesn’t belong, so I felt free to stick it in the gap between two bricks on an end and take a shot of the mortar oozing through the back side into the gap. I didn’t realize that there would be a gap. I thought the bricks were smack dab against the wood framing.

Learn something new every day.


Now the brick over the arch is complete and the siding is in place above it.

Next up is to finish the back wall and then P1150196_0827

to wrap the brick around to the inside of the carport.


We had to wait for the the inspector on this. We needed to know we were okay to do the porch floor the way we wanted to before we could start bricking the inside.


Today, the inspector came, he saw, and he approved.

Now we can get started with insulation and sheetrock on the inside and more brick on the outside.

The siding guys, meanwhile, have gotten the board and batten treatment done on the bathroom and dining room bump-outs.


I think it looks great. It’s really adorable in the yellow and white. It makes me think of yellow and white seersucker suits with spectator pumps.


I was across the street at the neighbors’ house today and couldn’t resist taking this shot. I just love the way that magnolia hides the master suite.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gas Attack


After waiting out the rain, the guys from Atlanta Gas Light came out yesterday to run the gas line.


They started at the house close to where the gas pipe was run.


I still don’t understand why they offset it like this. Maybe they need a little wiggle room to get the pipes hooked together, but still, it bugs me.


Then they ran it all along the edge of the front yard until they got to the fun part.


Up ‘til this point they could run the pipe anywhere they wanted to (as long as they didn’t mess with the geothermal, the well or the city water). But now they had to hand dig to make sure they didn’t dig up the gas main.


Just to make things more fun, the old steel pipe gas main was right above the new yellow plastic gas main, so they couldn’t use the locator tools. It took them forever, but they finally found the main and got us hooked up.


Meanwhile, around back there were masons swarming everywhere.


Jason had brought the whole crew, and they were up high,


down low,





and slathering.


They got a good bit done


– all the way to the water table (see, I remembered not to call it a beer ledge…) on this section.


And not to be outdone, the siding guys were continuing with the siding around the side porch.


And when I wasn’t snapping pictures, I had a meeting with the cabinet maker to go over details, so all in all it was a very productive day. A few more inspections and we’ll be ready to proceed with insulation and sheetrock on the inside.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Amusing Events

Every day of the past week, I have gone to the new house, taken photographs, talked to the workmen, and come home to post a blog entry.

Only I didn’t.

I looked at the pictures and there wasn’t enough progress to show, or more to the point, I just wasn’t inspired.  I couldn’t think of anything interesting or clever to say.

You could say I wasn’t a-mused.

But one can’t go on waiting for a visit from the muse forever, so I’ll just have to soldier on and try to give it a go solo – sans muse.

I’ve been watching the chimney progress.


After the rains ended last week, the sky was as bright a blue as you could ever want, and the masons climbed atop their scaffolding and began to give the chimney its final flair.

But there was one little mishap.


At first I thought this jolly old elf might be making hand holds for future trips up and down to the stockings below, but then he explained.


He had dropped his brick hammer down in the one void in the whole chimney and had to knock out a few bricks to retrieve his trademark tool. 

Still, the resemblance is uncanny… red cap, spectacles, mouth just forming the ho, ho, ho…


Soon they were back atop the roof forming up the chimney around the flues.


They had the pulley going again hoisting bricks and buckets of mortar to the lower scaffolding.


The “toter” then toted them up the roof to the upper scaffolding. 

Think of the money these guys save on gym memberships. Lats and delts and pecs all getting a workout every day – and they get paid to do it.  Of course, the cigarettes consumed probably undo both the health benefits and the savings on a health club, but I’m still impressed with their daily weight lifting regimen.


By the weekend, the chimney was nearly complete,


and today they finished it:


And then they moved over and started working on the brick foundation,


which is actually the bottom story in the back yard.


It will go all the way up to the siding.  I sure hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow so that they can finish it up!


I also hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow, because Atlanta Gas Light brought out their tractor and pipe today so they could get to work in the morning.

On the other hand, I hope it does rain tomorrow, because I have been planting like a fiend.


It doesn’t look like much right now, but I have planted this steep bank with winter jasmine and vinca.


They should bloom at the same time in late winter adding some color to the otherwise bleak landscape.  I hope the blue and yellow will look great together.

Meanwhile, back inside


the hearth was laid in the family room.  I thought about not posting this picture, but then I remembered that this guy forgot to put in the key thingy for the gas fire starter.  That set us back a day on inspections.  Inspection delays are not linear.  They seem to have an exponential nature.  So, the picture not only gives me a measure of revenge, it also kinda sums up how I’m feeling about this guy right now.


However, in spite of the delays, we are still making steady progress.

That should be enough amusement for anyone.