The Guys are Gone

Well, the guys are gone now. The drywall is sanded and almost completely primed (Randy did the priming) and ready for paint. I covered everything I could find on the main floor in sheets and Randy and I used a roll of plastic to cover the armoire and the south side of the family room. Despite all of this, there’s still a lot of cleaning work waiting for Christine. And, I’m going to have to take each palm leaf off of our huge fake palm trees and clean them individually. Yuck.

Randy and I went to Restoration Hardware on the weekend to pick cabinet hardware. The people at the cabinet manufacturer and our designer, Marie Ann, all said that, for what we picked, the color was right but the hardware was just “too dainty”. Randy wanted Craftsman hardware. Sorry, no. J So today Marie-Anne went to the same shop where I got the new front door hardware. She picked some really nice handles, including $220 pot drawer handles. Randy and I went by this evening. OK…so four drawers…$880. I didn’t like the pot drawer pulls that much. What I did see was the style that my amazingly beautiful door latch set emulates. And that’s what I think I want.

House History

I actually contacted, via email, the city of Richmond Hill this morning to ask about the history of our house. I understand that we have no recourse with the builder, as we are the third owners and the house is 20 years old. I just want to know.

The contractors put down a new sub-floor in the kitchen today, and the breakfast room sub-floor is in progress. Randy had them put in an extra little piece of joist against the bay area as there was no support there at all. He’s also looking around for another 2X10 to put in yet another one himself. He overbuilds everything J

So…given rearrangement of the inspections and the additional work on the floors, we should be one day off schedule. Randy, God love him, scheduled the cabinet delivery for two days in the project plan, so we are back on exact schedule. Unbelievable! We’ve also gotten one of the contractor guys to agree (maybe) to do the drywall on Saturday and Sunday, so we’ll be home, and we’ll be right on schedule. Sweet!

Still Sick

I’m still sick, but I’m going back to work tomorrow (Monday) because I just have to. I can’t be away any longer.

Randy cooked a nice meal, mostly on the BBQ grill, and I made microwave veggies and potatoes. The challenge was to actually make a chocolate soufflé in our makeshift kitchen. Randy did it! See the pictures.

Randy spent the day scrubbing the dining room walls, to rid them of the remaining sizing. He also started sheetrock repair and got at least one wall done. He’s worked so hard this weekend, and I’ve been too sick to help him much. I feel bad about that. I went to Value Village and got all the $2.99 sheets I could get my hands on. $30 worth! I’ll cover everything in the downstairs with sheets to help keep the dust down during the drywall work next week.

Joey and Rhys were pretty good boys this weekend. I won’t see them for Valentines Day, so I gave them candy and Valentine roses with a request that they each pass the rose on to a girl of their choice J

Our little family seems to be settling in well to the kitchen renovation!

Chevy was sick this morning. He had diarrhea in his box twice today. He’s been as sweet as usual, but we’re worried that he’s not feeling well. Randy will contact Joy tomorrow for history and advice. Poor Kitty.

Cleaning and Wallpaper Stripping Day!

We played “Beat the Clock” on the 24-hour wall paper steamer rental. The remaining wallpaper in the kitchen was over oil-based paint, so it came off easily with the steamer. The dining room, however, was a big pain in the @** because it was put on with sizing. Now, I remember my mom using sizing when ironing . . . that’s my whole experience with “sizing”. This “sizing” stuff on the walls? Flour and water. What?? Doesn’t that attract insects and animals and stuff? How gross is that? So when you steam it off the walls, you have to scrape it with a tool, and it falls on the floor with the old wallpaper bits, and gets all over everything, and, just – eeeeeww! One way we cut down the amount of dust in the dining room was by three of five people in the house dumping over the colander of water Randy was using to clean the scraper as he went. And no, we couldn’t find where the water went. I suppose we’ll find out some day!

Our little makeshift kitchen seems to be working fine, as long as we don’t need a lot of counter space. We have the island from the old kitchen in the dining room, and have stored flatware, pots and pans, utensils, etc. in it. On top of the island, is the second microwave, the convection toaster-oven, the coffee pot, a one-burner hotplate (thanks, Judy!!), and the electric kettle. One of the boys pointed out at lunch that we actually have all of the same cooking options that were available (and that worked) in the old kitchen! Too funny.

Christine did a fantastic job cleaning up dust while also cleaning the bathrooms, etc. as usual. She’s such a gem!! She has a stunningly beautiful 13-year-old daughter who occasionally comes with her. Oddly, Joseph “had to” take a shower this morning before they got here. Julia didn’t come with her mom today, but I’m told that she’ll be here next time.

We had supper at a local pub and the boys watched hockey (Toronto vs. somebody-or-other) and I watched the Pro Bowl on a different TV. Dallas had the QB for NFC. I so miss the old days of the Cowboys – Mister Landry, Roger Staubach . . . those were the football glory days for me as a youngster J But I digress.

Chevy was such a sweetheart today. He played with both boys, “helped“ Christine clean the master bathroom, and even did a back flip with the feather toy for Joey today. Heck’s Kitty is really settling down into life in our home, and we couldn’t be happier with him!

I Think Mike Holmes is My New Hero.

We watched one of his shows last night where he said over and over that permits should always be taken out for remodeling. Randy made some phone calls today, and found that as of January 2007, permits are required by Ontario law. I guess that hasn’t been communicated very well, as our contractor’s agent told us three times that we didn’t need permits. I kept on it and even made Randy really mad at one point over it. Anyway, Randy spoke to the owner of the contracting company and he said that we absolutely do need permits. He met with the agent and the site supervisor right away, and sent them down to apply for the permits. The good news is that the electrical and plumbing inspections have a 24-hour turnaround (amazing!) and the gas inspection is done after the stove is installed. So that, combined with the decision to use blown-in insulation on the outside walls, impacts the schedule, but not as much as it could have. Just think if this was the U.S. . . . if we asked for a 24-hour inspection turnaround there, I figure that, after they stopped laughing, they’d book us in for 2 or 3 months from now.

The boys are here tonight, and tomorrow the housekeeper comes (whom, I hope, is bringing help!) Randy and I will be stripping wallpaper in the dining room, preparing for the Jatoba floor installation. Now I actually have to start thinking about colors. I can’t wait to take down the awful pink drapes and Celtic lace sheers in there. I might put the lace sheers in the garage sale, but the pink drapes have gotta go! Maybe we’ll post some before and after pics of Heck’s Dining Room, too.

Chevey met the boys again tonight and seemed to take to Joey right away. Rhys, who is a little bit rambunctious, didn’t get Chevey’s cooperation right away. Joey is calmer, like his dad, so they hit it off pretty well. Chev is definitely Randy’s kitty.

Tired of Being Sick

I’m really REALLY tired of being sick. I’m way too busy and impatient for this. And my nose hurts from all the blowing and wiping. Whaaaaaw!!. And yes, I’ll find some cheese to go with that whine. Oh…wait…the fridge is in the reno zone and I’ll have to put gear on to get the cheese.. I’m going in! AAAAAaaaaaahhhhhhh

(sorry . . . when you’re this sick for this long, somehow, you need to fantasize about battle)

We’ve been lucky so far with things that have to depend on studs, like pot lights, and now the exhaust pipe for the vent hood. The kitchen designer said that he miscalculated because he didn’t measure the length of the stove wall properly. If he had, the exhaust pipe would have landed right on a wall stud.

The kitchen designer is currently redoing the drawings, and should let us know tomorrow whether or not there is an issue. We’re told that there’s no problem. Originally, 3” of fillers were planned at both ends of the wall in the design that we likely don’t need anymore!

The plumbing is all roughed in, and ready for sink installation. The wires for the pot lights and the sockets are also all roughed in. The wire fish had a good day!

Randy says that less happened today than he wanted . . . but a lot happened. We’re still OK with the critical path, so we’ll see how the next few days go. Always a new day!

BTW, Chevey has found his favorite place in the house, and it’s also my favorite place, although mine’s bigger – he loves cuddling in the bottom of a table in the Sanctuary. I put a Chinese-inspired pillow in the bottom of the table, and he found it and made it his own for a few hours tonight.

Randy Had a Tough Day Today

Randy had a tough day today. He had to go downtown for a client launch party when he really wanted to be here to work with the construction guys. Then he had a little plumbing “incident” while doing the rough-in for the island sink tonight. He solved the leaks by draining the water heater and opening all of the upstairs taps so that he could get a proper seal with the solder. I knew he could do it! Randy can do anything.

But I’m still waiting to find out how much extra the contracting company charges for letting him help. <ducking>

I’m still sick and the cold is progressing from my right ear and sinus to the left, so it’s a total virus party in my head! I still can’t hear anything. The huge amount of dust from the renovation isn’t helping. Christine, the Housekeeper from Heaven (or maybe Heck), is coming on Saturday with her dust mask and hopefully a friend, so that we can attack every surface in the house.

Today Steve had to help us reposition the pot lights in the kitchen and the breakfast room. We had planned for 20 total, but our best positioning ended up with only 19 (yay…some extra $!). So, no less than three designers helped us place the pot lights. Then when the sheetrock was gone and we saw the joists and the availability of pot light connections in the kitchen ceiling, the placement we had didn’t work. According to Steve, pots are spots that get wider as they hit the floor. So if you have a pot that is slightly behind you, it will throw a shadow on the countertop. So we need to make sure that the pots are directly overhead when standing at the counter. The pendants/chandelier over the island will take care of any shadowing there.

Randy doesn’t feel comfortable with the moldy yellow batting insulation so we are going with the blue blown-in, à la Mike Holmes. This requires a one week lead time. Project scope impact: delay of sheetrock installation by one week. Amazingly, critical path items aren’t moving. Sweet.

Chevy stayed in our bedroom all day today with all his toys and, uh, accessories. I hate closing him up! But he could get under a plastic sheet and into the kitchen, and there are holes in the floor. Likewise in the basement, stuff is falling through from the kitchen, so the bedroom is the safest place for him. He spent the day under the bed for some reason, rarely coming out, although Randy and I both checked on him quite a lot. The nice part is that because he was a breeder, he’s used to being by himself in a room for long periods. And we’ve moved his litter and food from the kitchen to the basement to the master and he’s so far just gone with the flow. Good kitty!

Done. Just Done.

2230h: I’m done for the night. All supply valves have been soldered, just waiting for T’s, positioning, and cabinets. All except one. I think Chevey took one valve, and it’s plastic bag, and hid it, the brat.

1630h: We’ll we’re done for the day. The guys have left, and we’ve decided to pull down the drywall. Apparently, “It’s an R2000 Home” is now the fourth great lie. The vapour barrier is totally trashed and the insulation is missing in spots. Kris is having to calm me down.
The dust in here is just terrible.

1445h: Now if I could only get off these conference calls and get to the store for supplies, maybe we could make some progress. I need marble.

1400h: The tiles are all broken up and they’re shovelling and sweeping. Man oh man is it dusty in here.

1215h: Guys have taken a break. 1/4 of the tiles are gone. I’m figuring mid-day tomorrow before that’s done. Kris has gone for lunch.

1100h: Cabinets are gone. I had to re-cap the plumbing lines, because they wanted a standard rough-in, so the outside faucet is disconnected for the duration. Mental note: plumbing before sink install.

1000h: MICE? WE HAD MICE? Found lots of peanut shells under the old cabinets. Glad the home inspector didn’t find this (Sarcasm, folks). Anyone want his name, so you can avoid using him or his company?

0730h: A good sign. Everyone’s here early. I should have stopped hitting the snooze button.

The Stuff We Found

Oh my goodness, the stuff we found, today. Randy’s description on the Current page pretty much says it all.

What he didn’t say is that we found sooo many things wrong with the construction in this house. Remember when I said to stop me watching Mike Holmes? Well, if I hadn’t been watching Holmes on Homes, I wouldn’t have known about vapor barriers and insulation. And I wouldn’t have understood when the guys ripping out the kitchen said that the vapor barrier (what little of it there was) wasn’t installed properly. I stuck my hand in a hole in the drywall and there was a nice cold breeze in there. When the tile floor in the kitchen/breakfast room was removed, several holes in the plywood revealed laziness – the framers didn’t bother to cover the floors when it rained; it’s apparently easier, faster, and cheaper to just break holes in the plywood so that the rainwater just drains out into the unfinished basement. The cabinet installers either didn’t know how or didn’t bother to do the math on the stud placement in the walls. There are tell-tale hammer hits in the walls where they looked for studs on which to hang the cabinets.

Also kinda scary was the condition of the inside of the wall oven cabinet. Let’s just say it was scorched inside. Randy will post pictures of the stuff we found today on his “post-mortem” page after the project is complete.

I figure that if we were to take every room in the house down to the studs, we would find stuff like this everywhere. Don’t builders and construction people have any pride at all in their work?!

SO…what this all means is that the scope alarm may be going off soon. We’ve decided to take down all of the kitchen drywall so that the vapor barrier and insulation can be redone properly. We’re considering whether or not to replace all of the insulation with the blue blow-in kind, which we are told is expensive, but is much faster to install . . . so, from a “consultant economics” perspective, it may be the best option. I get to make that call tomorrow, since Randy has to go to a client project kickoff meeting tomorrow.

Thank goodness this is the slow season for me and I’m not having to travel every week. I don’t expect that to last much longer, though!

Chevey was such a good boy today, despite all the banging and hammering, and the strange voices. He spent the day in his favorite basement room and was quite happy with the light and the TV on (on the Food Network). Randy and I both went down to see him many times during the day and he was just fine. He’s such a little trooper! Nothing seems to bother him. He’s the best kitty! 🙂

Tonight he spent time with me in the sanctuary, on the loveseat. He scared himself while playing with the doorstop, and then decided that he had to be up on top of the TV table, just in case I needed him to change the channel or something. I think our little boy Bengal is settling in very nicely to our home!

Things are Totally Coming to a Head

Things are totally coming to a head. Randy says that I’m sick to my stomach because my immune system is affected by nervousness about the reno. I think I just have an ugly bug. In any case, I spent way more time packing and sorting kitchen stuff than I should have, and now I’m paying the price. I had to come into the Super Bowl during the second quarter. That’s bad, ‘cuz then I wasn’t able to “magic” Chicago the way I wanted to. And so, they’re in trouble. I’m sure that’s why.

And speaking of the Super Bowl . . . is Prince not a GOD?!?!

And now… Indianapolis are the Super Bowl champions. How weird is that?

Oh yeah. Back to the reno:

We’re exactly on schedule. Critical path is the floors on the 19th, and cabinet delivery on the 27th. So far, so good, but then, so far, it’s been only Randy and me doing stuff according to the project plan. When others are introduced, we’ll see how the one week of slack can be distributed J

I’m going to have “words” with the General’s rep tomorrow, ‘cuz I’m convinced that it’s more important to have the proper permits than to cheat and save a couple of bucks. If we were spending $20K I might be willing to forego proper inspection and permits. We’re spending a whole lot more than that. It just doesn’t make sense to risk that in a home we’re planning to spend the next 20 years in, and plan to sell in our 60’s as our nest egg.

Cheveyo is a little bit scared, and still uncomfy with the activity in the house. He asserted himself this morning by peeing (nee: spraying) his kitty bed. Randy and I got very used to his bringing us a present when we woke in the morning. This morning, it was a spray. Bad kitty!