Time Thief

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blue Blood

Since I'm in the home stretch on the bathroom, I've been making approximately 2.5 trips to Lowe's per day. (As an aside, I was given an HD gift card last week, so I went there a couple of times. I can't believe I used to be Orange only. After 3 weeks as a Lowe's shopper, the HD stores just seem horrible!)

The Prairie Village Art Show and neighborhood garage sale is this weekend, so I'll be trying to pawn some of my junk and not-so-junk off on unsuspecting visitors. I'm super short on time for this week so while I was at Lowe's getting shut-off valves, I trekked over to the area where they have 'Garage Sale' signs to look for price stickers. All they had was a package with pre-printed prices. I figured this will have to do, grabbed a package, but still wandered through the aisle as if blank stickers would magically appear behind some forgotten box.

The friendly Lowe's employee who was stocking shelves asked if I needed any help. I showed him the package of pre-printed stickers. "I would love it if you guys had these without prices on them".

Friendly Lowe's guy -- "No, I don't think so. They just reset this section last week, so if we did, it would be right here."

He walks closer to me.

FLG -- "You'd probably have to go to Home D.." Erm.

Pause. I smile at him and offer, "Office Depot?"

FLG -- "Office Max. You'd probably have to go there to find those."

Me -- "You were going to say Home Depot, weren't you?"

FLG(grimacing) -- "Ssssshhhh."

Me -- "Don't worry. I don't bleed orange anymore. I only bleed blue since you guys opened this store."

FLG -- "That's good, then this will just be our little secret."

FLG -- "What's that other place called?"

I straightened him out on the various office supply stores.

FLG -- "Office Depot! That's it. That's what I meant."

(What makes this even funnier to me is I often have the same name confusion with those two. Now that I don't go to HD anymore, maybe that will clear up. )

Me -- "Don't worry your secret is safe with me."

FLG -- "Thanks."

FLG(returning to his stocking duties) -- "You just made my day"

Ahh, glad to be of service, nice Lowe's guy. I worked retail for 8 years. Be nice to your retail workers. They need a little excitement in their day and sometimes it's just a nice little exchange like this to do the trick. I know people complain a lot about the lack of help they get from HD and Lowe's employees. Get over it. They're retail workers. They're not trained nor paid enough to know everything you want to know. (Complete neglect and incompetence are a whole different story.) The ones that do seem to know what they're talking about.....trust me, you probably don't want to know them in real life. They're total a$$holes.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Who says I have no taste?

Well, me mostly. My taste tends to run towards the extreme. I have no problem admitting to the fact that most people would find the environments I create slightly annoying, if not repulsive. No beige rooms here. Except the 'Chocolate Froth' in the hallway that I love, love, love. Don't get me wrong. I totally understand the pleasing nature of beige and its ability to stand the test of time. I'm just not into it. I'm even attracted to houses in the neighborhood that are a nice shade of beige, white trim, and black accents, but it'll never be me.

Anyway, I cruised over to the This Old House website the other day during toilet installation research. This will be the first one I've ever really installed by myself and wanted a refresher course. And whaddya know....the feature story that popped up on their home page was an article about bold interiors.

Say what you will about the This Old House enterprise these days, but I bet most people agree that their stylists/designers usually do a pretty good job. The picture at the lead of this article is almost exactly the two colors I have going on in the dining room and living room. They are adjoining rooms similar to the photo and even I will admit that the two colors back-to-back is a little much. I have plans to hang a nice drape in the one corner of the rooms where the colors actually butt up against each other as camouflage.

I've even been thinking of repainting the living room lately, but who needs a new project, right? With my color scheme being "approved" by the TOH empire, I feel validated. :)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Wait...what day is it? I think I missed one...

How do you know when to call it a day? When you do something like this....

Yeah, that's supposed to be a rectangle cutout for the medicine cabinet. I sorta forgot that I didn't put blocking in for the top and bottom of the cabinet because I wanted to keep my options open. As I inched closer to the light, I kept thinking, "Shouldn't this thing be stopping soon? DOH!" Dummy. Can't even get the place finished without having to fix something already. This is a time when power tools are bad. They let you do things faster than you can think about it. That was Friday night at about 11 and I knew I was done for the night.

I got up early and went to the farmer's market on Saturday. My purpose was twofold: 1) get there while some gettin' was good and 2) minimize weekend-morning-lounge tendencies by getting out and getting started with the day. I have a lot to do in the next two weeks and there's no time for slacking!

I hardly ever go to the farmer's market and that's a bad thing. These strawberries tasted even better than they look. Fresh strawberries are sorely missed around here. Where I grew up, there were strawberry patches everywhere. There were even two farms just up the street from one of my suburban abodes. I don't know if it's a Kansas thing or a Kansas City thing, but I'd be hard-pressed to find a pick-your-own patch around here. I had really forgotten how much better fresh berries are until I bit into the first one of these yummies.

(Why yes, I love my yellow laminate counters. Thank you for noticing. And the blue/mauve spotted wallpaper? That's my favorite!)

The rest of the weekend is kind of a blur. I know there were Garlic Dill Steamed Potatoes. I know there were a couple of trips to Lowe's and rental of their "To-Go" truck. Their rental process is more of a pain than the Depot, but the truck has a way-cool side gate on the bed. A Lowe's recently opened less than 3 miles from the Time Thief, so I've switched hemmoraging from Orange to Blue. It was time.

There was also a lot of cursing at the tile saw, way too much thinset, and the super-exciting task of finally digging the old wax seal out from on/under the toilet flange. It's best not to think about these types things while doing them.

I now know for sure that I could never install tile for a living. I'm waaaay to slow. My mom says it's probably because I'm trying to be too perfect, but that is definitely not the case. It is far from perfect. My hope is that, at minimum, it doesn't look DIY. I've been in houses where you could just _tell_ it was someone's weekend project and to me, that would be failure.

Drooooooool. I like it even more than I thought I would. The blue is a little strong, so I'm going to try some paint chemistry for the final coat. At first I was bummed that the white of the pinwheels was different than the white of the field tile, but now I like it. It lets the pinwheels stand out more.

If only the corner pieces of the shelf rail were finished, then I'd be ecstatic. I'm having a very tough time getting the miter to come out right. My first couple of cuts were way off. I switched to some spare wood trim pieces for more tests to make sure what I thought I was doing was the right thing. The wood trim fit perfectly on the first try, but I've got it the easy with with wood. I just went to the miter/chop saw, slid the blade to 45, held the trim upright, and cut. Wish I could do that with the ceramic tile.

Okay, so I tried to think logically. The tile saw is just an upside-down chop saw with a fixed blade. So, angle the tile instead of the blade and it should be fine. Nope. Still WRONG. I think I've realized that the problem is I don't have 90 degrees anywhere.

I know I should have pictures to demonstrate this, but I'll try to explain. The blade isn't large enough to cut through the whole piece at once. I have to do one cut right-side-up and finish it upside-down. I had been setting the piece on the saw oriented 90-degrees to the table. But, when it's on the wall, the top and bottom are not 90-degrees to the wall. There's a slight tilt to the top and bottom. I think if I replicate this angle, then the cut will work out. Must be time to make a jig.

I've just been slicing off bits of the same two tiles, so I haven't wasted much yet, but I only have a couple of spares. I'm getting to the nail-biting phase. I'm going to let the ideas simmer for a while and come back to it. I've already wasted far too much precious time on these 4 pieces. They'll get some attention again after there's a functioning toilet and sink.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

bathroom progress

The bathroom is progressing along slowly. I'm having guests the first weekend in June, so I've got a deadline to work towards. I usually do well with deadlines.

All ripped out. The old wall-hung sink support clearly indicates this sink was tested.

Behind the wall were hundreds of razor blades. At least, I think that's what they are....left over from back in the day when medicine cabinets had a little slot in the bottom for you to drop your used blades. Where did they think they went?!

When I first saw it, I thought the wood had just rotted away into shreds. I had to get closer and take off my dusty goggles to see what was really going on.


Old plumbing. The plumber said the "dirty arm" going from the lav to the main stack practically fell apart when he went to remove it.

The dust storm from removing this stuff was horrendous. I even broke down and put on a mask. I never wear a mask. Yes, I'm that stupid.

Typical in-wall open splice. This hadn't been live in years.

I mentioned before that I thought the top of the glass block window was originally a slider. This chain indicates that it was a tilt-out hopper instead.

Ahh...my nemesis.

Fixed and boarded-up, awaiting new window. I don't have a good pic as proof of the repaired studs. Trust me. It ain't going nowhere.

New copper, thanks to friendly plumber guy

All new tub/shower lines

The shower riser was leaking ever so slightly. One or two drips in 24 hours, but we all know what that adds up to over time. I fixed it myself instead of calling the plumber back. With the exception of the glob I dripped up at the top, I don't think my joints look any worse than the plumber's.

Ready for drywall....drywall boxes replaced with hard shell boxes and all wires secured; insulated for sound; plastic-ed and taped for vapor.

Ta-da! (Yes, the new shower arm is super-high to accomodate my ultra-tall brother.)

With new window. Which I had to re-frame TWICE because the 'people' called the Monday after I framed it the first time to tell me they couldn't order a unit as short as I had specified, even though they were able to enter it into the ordering system two weeks prior. grrrrrr.

And now with a coat of color.

Trying some tile layout options

With editorial from Meda

I will admit now (if you haven't figured it out already) that this bathroom is totally stolen from houseinprogress and Brickman House. Why risk making your own mistakes when you can copy the successes of others. ;) Stay tuned for more plagiarism....

Monday, May 08, 2006

How to not have a good time (or, How I spent my evening)

I searched hi-and-low on the internets and local big boxes for a suitable medicine cabinet. Sure, the ones at Rejuvenation are gee-or-geeeous, but they're so large! Same with the ones at Van Dyke's.

This is a very tiny bathroom folks, and the 7 1/2 foot ceilings only add to the effect. I could have just gone with a plain-old mirror (easy to find lots of options), but how fun is that? Besides, small = exploit all available storage possibilities = I wanted an inset medicine cabinet, dammit! And I did not want to re-frame the wall to get something to fit.

There was this one at Pottery Barn that looked pretty good. Froogle found that for me. Then I decided to check Restoration Hardware which I never do anymore because they're so pricey. Well, yes, they are still pricey, but they had a near perfect solution.

I debated between the two for a while, then finally went for the one from RH since it was slightly smaller. During checkout, I saw it was on backorder until June. Hmmm.... okay, I'll risk it. There were no inset dimensions listed, but I ordered it anyway. A couple of emails later to customer service, and they sent me the inset dimensions once I threatened cancelling my order. And then, whaddya know! Luck, luck, luck, I got shipping notification on the cabinet just a few days later! It was going to be here more than a month earlier than expected!

And so it did arrive. And it was good. I might repaint it because the finish feels a little laminate-y, but it was everything I expected. Now to the fun part and the point of this post. When I emailed customer service, they replied that the inset width was 14.5 inches. Perfect! Should fit exactly within studs 16" on center! Trouble is, the studs aren't exactly 16 on center. I was short by about 1/4 of an inch. Ever the optimist (or just lazy), I tried to test fit the cabinet anyway. Not even close. Did I mention that I didn't want to re-frame the wall? Yeah, I thought so.

So, I got out the trusty planer. I shaved down both studs until I gained my 1/4 inch. What a dusty, cloudy mess. Before you think too highly of me, I should mention it is a power planer. No way I'm doing that by hand. I'm not that crazy. And it was way easier than re-framing the wall.

It sure is a lucky thing the cabinet showed up early because, of course, the studs aren't perfectly plumb. Had the cabinet not been here yet for me to test, I would've trusted a tape measure to enlarge the opening, then had all sorts of fits later after everything was closed in when the almost-square cabinet wouldn't fit into my very-not-square opening.

So, anyway, if you really want to not have a good time, spend an hour or so planing down the sides of some studs. Really, it will deliver.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Blue Vinyl

A fellow houseblogger's post (I'm sorry I don't remember who it was!) a while back tipped me off to the movie Blue Vinyl. What a great flick! Makes you think and is quite entertaining. I was feeling pretty good about myself, curled up on the couch in my living room wrapped in James Hardie siding. Until I realized I should've made a better attempt at recycling the steel siding I removed...especially since steel is apparently in high demand now.

The movie has another associated website with more anti-PVC info and green building resources.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hotel being parted out

Hotel selling off all furniture and fixtures to make way for the new: http://www.thekansascitychannel.com/video/9156993/detail.html.

"The sale starts Thursday at 10 a.m. and will continue for two weeks. The sale hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.


Because of a large turnout, only 50 customers will be allowed on the property at the same time."