Saturday, February 6, 2010

Back on Track

I think we were both kind of burned out for a few days from all the preparations for the inspection but we are now back in productive mode.

On Wednesday we did the final pre-mudding preparations for Doug's office, studio, and buffing area. While Doug finished putting up a few last minute bits of drywall, I removed all of the switch plates and heating grills that had been installed last week for the sake of the inspection. We both took down the lights. I put down plastic on the floor and pink protective paper on the steps. I also covered the banister and newel post with plastic so that I won't have to scrape drywall mud off of them later. Then we got all of the straight seams taped.

Last night was an inside corner taping marathon. I'm so glad we did the garage first so that we could get some of the techniques down. That was a good room to start with because it was just a big square room with a bump out in one corner. Last night we did all of the inside corners for a stairwell, under the stairwell, the main room, and the buffing room. It was a huge job. Every wall to ceiling intersection and most of the wall to wall vertical intersections are inside corners, in addition to the slanted ceilings and all the other little shapes Doug had added. Inside corners take at least twice as long because you have to mud two wall surfaces before putting the tape on instead of doing one long strip the way the other seams are.

Since we had gotten started so late (9pm - where did the day go?) we ended up working until 7:30 this morning. Doug kept wanting to quit - we were both pretty tired, but since we came in one car for a change, I was able to crack the whip and say "We are not leaving until we are finished!" That seems like kind of a mean thing to say to an exhausted person at 5:30 in the morning, but we did finish and today we took the day off so that first coat can dry. It was well worth it.

We've got two skim coats left and they should go much faster. And then finally I'll be able to paint that damn room and we'll only have one left - his shop, and that's going to be an easy one.

Doug's studio will be this color - Big Sur Blue. It's kind of dark, but there will be lots of white and there's also lots of good lighting so it should be fine. Look at those nice shiny freshly painted white cinderblock walls!

No drywall mud or paint will get on these light fixtures if I can help it! This prep stuff is really boring work so it's a good thing I know how to amuse myself. Doug had several colors of leftover paint to choose from for his shop bathroom - yellow, green, aqua - but he chose pink. I tried to talk him out of it but obviously I was unsuccessful. That tank over the toilet is his central vacuum unit which he decided to locate there for some reason or other. So all of the dirt and dust from all over the entire house will empty into the can over the can.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

All the latest news

So here's what's new in Foamcore Fantasyland:
The electricians are completely finished. Last week they finished installing the rest of the lighting in the basement and outside, putting plates over all of the switches and outlets and did some final hookups.

The HVAC people came and installed a gigantic unit outside, attached all of the vent covers, put in the thermostats, and turned on the heat. They said they needed to come back after twelve hours to adjust the compression in the refrigerant or something like that and we haven't seen them since which unfortunately is not all that surprising. I just hope they aren't trying to void our warranty or something.

The heat feels great. It kind of oozes gently out of the ceiling instead of blowing huge amounts of dusty cough-inducing air in your face the way the heating system at the Cinderblock Chalet does.

Speaking of heat, Doug has not finished hooking up his floor heat yet. I don't know if it even works. Not that we really need it.

I spent the better part of two days putting plate covers over all of the floor heat outlets and the media outlets for all of the TVs and computers that we might be able to afford ten years from now. This was for the inspection. Those covers will have to come off and be put back on again when we do the baseboards, so that activity felt like a very fulfilling way to spend a couple of days. At least I wasn't on my feet for twelve hours straight. I still think it's a lot more fun to paint cinderblock.

Last Thursday an amazing miracle happened. The ever-hopeful Doug had decided that since we didn't have enough money to renew our building permit when it expired the next day, we should go ahead and schedule the final inspection even though we didn't have everything finished. Boy is he smart! I didn't want to inconvenience the inspector and make him mad for having to flunk a house that is obviously not ready to be inhabited. I thought we should just suck it up and renew the permit the way we had to do last year.

Anyway I never get my way, so the inspector came and the first thing he said to me was "I can't pass a house that doesn't have all of its gutters." I thought "Yaay, finally Doug will be forced to put up the gutters!" We haven't had gutters in the front of our house for over three years and there's a big gully next to the house and a huge area of mud on the low point of the driveway. It's awful. Doug has been insisting to anyone who will listen that gutters are not required and he has refused to put them up as part of finishing the outside of the house. So now he will be putting them up in February instead of last summer or the summer before. And I, of course, will undoubtedly be helping him. Isn't that great? But at least it will finally be done. Normal people have gutters on their house. Is it so unreasonable for me to want that too?

So the inspector has definitely endeared himself to me on this point already and then he started looking around the rest of the house. All of the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC appear to be finished and the house looks really good except for not having any baseboards and door and window trim. By that time Doug has shown up. I think the inspector felt sorry for us, or me maybe, and he decided to go ahead and finalize it, because we are obviously struggling to get it finished. But we have to call him again in three weeks so that he can make sure that things (like the gutters)have progressed properly.

So we can start moving back in as soon as certain things are finished. We are going to completely finish one room at a time, starting with our bedroom, as soon as we finish the basement. No more flitting around from one project to the next. We can start living there as soon as the kitchen is completely finished, including the mouldings on top of the cabinets. We can stop paying rent at the Cinderblock Chalet as soon as the floor heat has been on for a couple weeks and the baseboards are installed in the piano room.

So this is all potentially very exciting, but I'm not holding my breath. Except when I'm sanding drywall. Already the pace of work has slowed down a bit, in spite of the fact that Doug has announced our upcoming move to our landlord. I hope the landlord has gotten to know Doug well enough by now to know what he might actually mean when he says "by the end of the month." I think two months is more realistic. Anyway, wish us luck!