Sunday, February 22, 2009

fun with gas.. pipe that is

In the pile of trash remaining after Leroy's grandkids took everything they thought had value, were some tools from his days as a plumber. This box held the dies sitting next to it, which are used to cut threads into pipe. The two big pole things are ratchets the dies would go into, if they were from the same set.. Unfortunately, they weren't, and a ratchet for the great Ridgid set he had now costs several hundred dollars. Which might've been worth it, because it is really good set, except there was no 3/4"" die, which is one of the sizes we need.

So, we took a little field trip to Harbor Freight, which is sort of like a trip to the toy store, and picked up a full set for less than the cost of a Ridgid ratchet. We have no illusions that this will last nearly as long, or be of nearly as high quality as the Ridgid set, but we don't have all that much pipe to run so it fits our needs pretty well.

One thing that was all together was this tri-stand for holding pipe while you thread it - also Ridgid, and also remarkably expensive to buy!

You tighten the pipe in the vise, and the wide leg base makes it very stable so you can crank down on the pipe without it moving.

Plus, it's got a quick release, which makes it easy to get the pipe out after you've threaded a fitting onto the end of it, as we discovered later.

In theory, it's all very straightforward.. you slide the ratchet on a clean, square-cut, deburred piece of pipe and crank it clockwise to start cutting threads.

This ratchett has a reverse, which you're supposed to use every full turn or so to back out the shavings so they don't muck up the threads

And no holding back on the cutting oil.. lubrication keeps it all sliding smoothly


And voila! a pipe exactly as long as you need!


Everything went so well on the test pipes, we were ready to go on the 9' length of 1.5" pipe. One of the last things we need to do for the heat is to run the gas to the boiler, so that's what we're working on

Here's an action shot of Dan working the ratchet.

This is what it looks like mid-threading. We stopped regularly to get out all the shavings and spray lubricant in there, but the threads still wound up a little chewed up

From here it looks like a perfect job!

And the fitting went on easily, so it was time to put it inline.

We used teflon tape on the male pipe end and liquid plumbers tape on the female fitting, which is what all the pros recommended. It helps protect the pipe, since the galvanization is gone where we cut threads, and of course helps get a good seal.


The first one fit perfectly!


The next one I cut, and it wasn't quite as pretty.. and the fitting didn't go on as easily.. but it did go on and it doesn't leak.

But that's not really the point of this glamour shot.. I'm still barely showing, but I don't have any maternity work clothes, so we wind up with very attractive views like this.

We didn't get the whole run done, so it's capped off and next weekend we're back on pipe duty.

Monday, February 16, 2009

But Wait, One More Kitchen Design Iteration

So we went to a cabinet shop on Saturday and they look pretty good and their prices were pretty great so we are trying to zoom in on a final kitchen design....for real this time.

Here's the newest version of the kitchen plans with dimensions. Turns out we didn't have all the dimensions of the appliances right... Our microwave is waaaay huger than the one we had in originally. Turns out we need 6'-6" for our table and chairs and built in benches idea.




Here's the rendered birds-eye view. Don't know what this tells you but it looks pretty I guess.




Here's the view looking towards the south wall. Like that nice big window looking out into our backyard. You can see the dishwasher and the third window also. We will probably not do the small french doors opting for a regular door like we put in downstairs.




Here's the view looking back at the fridge and china cabinet. The cabinet over the fridge is going to be 'fridge depth' but we are going to recess the fridge into the wall 4" so that its basically cabinet depth. The upper cabs to the right we are going to make 18" deep, the depth of the MW, and bring them down pretty close to the counter. We plan on having a lazy susan in the corner cab and this is where most of our dry goods will be stored.



Here's a shot standing way back in the hallway and looking into the kitchen. We were worried that the fridge would stick out too far but I think it looks okay. Remember that the china cabinet on the left is recessed into the wall a bit so it makes the fridge look like its sticking out more than it is.



Here's a shot looking at the stove wall. Now, with the MW gone all the cabinets to the left of the stove can be for our daily dishes-cups-plates-etc. We are probably going to nix the shelves to the right of the stove in lieu of another regular cabinet. Irene thinks that we can fit all of our pots and pans in the two base cabs on either side of the stove. That means no more pot rack which is probably a good thing. Also we are not going to do the cabinets all the way to the ceiling we think.

That's it for now let us know what you think will ya?

what tree? what tent??

At 8:30 this morning the chainsaws started, and they were not even the loudest thing around.

Our neighbor was able to find a tree service that could come out on a holiday Monday and haul away the tree carcass, in the form of little chips of wood.

Very few people in the neighborhood heard it fall or saw the giant tree in our backyard, so unfortunately everyone just thought we were chopping down a tree really loudly at the crack of dawn on a holiday..

This was the view from the front of the house.



There were 4 guys working (in the pouring rain, on a holiday, really hard): one had the chainsaw in the tree and the other 3 would grab the branches...


.. and bring them up front, and toss them into the wood chipper...

.. which would spew chips of what used to be a great tree into the yellow truck.


These guys moved really fast.. this was the view of our patio after a little more than an hour. And when they were done they cleaned all the little twigs and bits up to the point that it looked like nothing had happened.

Until you looked up and saw the carcass of our tent, that is..

The rain cleared for awhile, and we decided to take advantage of that and take care of the tent once and for all

A couple friends and a neighbor came over to help us pick through the debris, bring the stuff that was still good into the garage, and throw what was destroyed into the back of our truck to take to the dump.

One of the things that didn't survive was the treadmill. And this was the year we were totally going to start using it again!


It rained on and off, which possibly sped things up, because we got through everything pretty fast. Then came the very satisfying tearing apart the tent itself.. we tried to use power tools on it, but the thing was so trashed it pretty much just fell into pieces.

side note: no worries about me lifting anything heavy.. I had 6 people yell at me if I so much as touched a bin, so I mostly just directed what should go where and refreshed the trash bags.

This is all that was left of the tree at the end of the day.. we saved a couple stumps to use as stools - I hope the cool red veining doesn't fade! - and scattered some chips down on the muddy side yard.

We have more daylight than ever in the back yard, which is nice enough now in the dead of winter, but it's going to be a drag in the middle of the day during the summer when there's no shade around.

We're really going to miss the tree, it wasn't even on our property but it was definitely part of the house.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

about that tree we wanted in our yard,,

.. this is not what we had in mind. You could also file this under "just when you thought you had more than enough to deal with."

At 2:30 this morning I woke up to a very strange sound. It was loud and long and sort of whooshing.. It was a windy night, but that was definitely something more than just wind.

I jumped out of bed to see what it was and all I saw out the back window was tree. Which is unusual, mind you, because we don't have ANY trees on our property. So I moved into the kitchen and opened the back door and, sure enough, all tree.

I'm going to back up a few days here to when a big branch/limb broke off in our neighbor's yard. He was very worried about the health of the tree and thought it probably needed to be removed or it might fall. We agreed to call an arborist out to take a look.. It was a giant tree, that was very pretty in its day, but had been getting worse. The arborist came out on Friday and identified a few problems with the tree and determined it likely could not be saved.

About 3 years ago the neighbor behind us cut off a very big branch, which had a sore leading from it causing a lot of decay. It also appeared that a lot of the root structure had been removed from the same side to make room for the foundation of a garage being built. These were a couple of big contributing factors to the ill health of the tree

Many years prior to that, there was a fencepost that the seemed to be growing around. That may also have contributed to the problem.

This tree had been in the front of our minds all week, so when I looked out the window it was a very sad end to the issue. And the start of another..

We ran outside to make sure our neighbor was ok, and he was out there calling for us for the same reason. The fence between our houses was obliterated, but neither house seemed to have any damage.

There was one big branch still hanging off our neighbor's house and we were all worried that with the wind the tree might shift and the house might not get off so easy the second time

Out came the super-handy cordless sawzall, and the branch came right off the tree

The branch was still hanging off the house though, so Dan went offroading in his robe to get it down.

By this time the rain had started pouring down, and there was clearly nothing else that could be done, so we all went off to bed. Not that there was much sleep with everyone worrying about what damage there was, and how we were going to get the tree out of there..


This morning, it turned out not to have been a dream.

<-- This is the view from our upstairs window. It was a very big tree, and the whole thing is now in our backyard.

The tree is so big I couldn't get all of it in one picture, even from that high up! It stopped a foot or so short of the fence on the other side of the yard..

This is from the corner of the patio nearest the house. The tree miraculously didn't take down the back porch/stairs.. we can't use the stairs at the moment, because they're a land mine of branches, but we're pretty happy it's all still standing.

The weight of the tree seems to be on these branches at the bottom of our patio, and the way they snap off very easily, we're not walking underneath it at all.

<-- This is the view from the back corner of the yard. The fence is just gone, and the whole tree is resting on its branches in our patio


Thank goodness I got the hole in the roof of the tent patched! ;)

This is the thing I'm trying not to think about.. we can't get to the tent at all, because the tree is a little precarious. Plus, it rained all night long, so any damage that's going to be done is already done.


Dan sent the arborist an email last night when we came inside, and he called back this morning and said he'd be right over (in the rain, on Sunday, wife and kids in the car.. )

This is the giant sore running along the back of the trunk. At the top right is the very improperly cut branch that led to the decay.

Behind the tree, through the convenient opening in the fence, you can see the garage that the tree died for. Not a scratch on it.

Zoomed in a bit, you can see the fencepost that the tree ate a long time ago..

And the spongy bottom where typically, roots would hold the tree upright in the ground.


It being a Sunday, and pouring rain, and tomorrow being a holiday, it's not looking good to get someone out here to haul the tree away. But it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, and the tent and the fence aren't going to break any worse than the completely destroyed they are now, so there's not much point in stressing about it sitting where it is. Besides, we're going to miss the tree, so another day or two with it is fine with us.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

makin' way for baby, part 2

My friend Christine came over to help me line the walls of baby's room in fabric - Christine is the queen of making things look pretty with fabric.

The room is as tall as it is long, so it was a little difficult to find space to cut. The jumble of hose for the pneumatic stapler didn't help much..

For the ceiling, we wrapped the end of the fabric around a long, narrow piece of wood and stapled it from the underside. The fabric kept slipping, so we taped along it first, then stapled.

After this side was up, we pulled the fabric across the ceiling, taped it to a piece of wood on the other end, and stapled it up.

We did the ceiling in 2 sections, with the overlap in the middle of the room. There's no light in there, so this way I can get a hanging light and put it up in the middle of the room. The light will poke out of the fabric, and I can tuck the cord behind and run it down to an outlet


Then came the first wall.. this was a bit of trial and error because of the oddities of the room. There's exterior paneling, drywall and trim in varying combinations around the room. We wound up stapling the fabric to a piece of trim that runs all the way around the room, and we pulled gathers in it so it looks very curtainy (and girly!).

I decided to cover the door, even though there's a window in it. That's had the interesting side-effect of making the room seem just a little bigger. Even though we never open the door, and the litter box has been sitting in front of it for a year, visually it still seems like there's more space in there now.

I haven't decided how to do the curtains in here yet, so we just pinned the fabric up over the window to let light in. Once there's a curtain plan, I'll actually cut and staple the fabric around the window.

And then underneath the window, we stapled the fabric from the underside right up to the frame and then let it fall over the sill.

It's a very green, girly wall

The back wall we did more like the ceiling, wrapping the fabric around a strip of wood and stapling it up. We spent awhile getting the pattern to line up (I've never hung wallpaper, but I imagine this aspect of it is a giant pain!), but I pulled it a little off when I went back and stapled the fabric up to the window (the white gap between the window in and the fabric started bugging me after looking at this picture)

It's a little flowery-er than it seemed on the bolt, but it's very, very cute.

I'll get a soft, fluffy rug in one of the flower colors (I'm leaning towards purple, but both Christine and
Dan vote for hot pink), and it should be a nice, cozy room. I plan on stapling the fabric at the floorline too, so the little on can't go crawling back behind there.

Two walls down, 2 to go!



Sunday, February 8, 2009

makin' way for baby

Dan's been working on the heat - installing venting and attaching and pressurizing the manifold.. that will be another post. I've been a bit distracted with wanting to get the nursery started, so in case she comes early there will be a reasonably clean and safe place for her.

<-- To illustrate how not-clean, and not-in-any-way-safe, the room we're planning for the nursery used to be.. here's a shot from when we first bought the house. A hubcap makes a great baby toy, right?!


This is what the room has looked like for most of our time here.. It's the sun room off the kitchen, which has been functioning as a catch-all storage place and the home for the litter box.


Most recently, it's evolved into our clothes drying area/mud room. The washing machine is right where I'm standing to take this picture, and it's also right by the back door so when we're soaking wet from riding home, our rain gear can be stripped off and hung right up.

Ultimately, the space will be a stairwell between the first and second floors of the house.

This is the view looking back out towards the kitchen. The big window faces south, so it's a favorite hang-out spot for the cats, who can usually find a patch of sunlight somewhere in there.

The door on the left of this picture leads into our bedroom, which also makes it a pretty ideal spot for a nursery


And this is from the bedroom doorway looking back towards the window. It's a small room - 6' x 9' - but babies are pretty small, so it seems like it should work fairly well.

The door in this picture leads out to the back stairs, but hasn't opened since the foundation was done. That's not a problem, because there's another door just on the other side of that little wall. When we redo the kitchen, we'll be getting rid of one of the doors, although we've gone a little back and forth about which one will be going away.

Everything in the room found a new home, and I headed back in with my handy bucket of bleach and cleaner and gave it a good scrubdown. It was last scrubbed before we moved in, and wasn't too bad except for over the doors and the floor.

Because every wall in the room is being either removed or replaced within the next year, it doesn't seem worthwhile to re-drywall. My plan is to cover the walls with fabric to get a nice clean, solid surface.

Here's a sneak preview of the fabric.. which will be a project for another weekend