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First Project of the Year Complete!

Posted on May 13th, 2024

Dave!Coat closet remodel complete.

I needed a place to put the Litter-Robot that was out of the living/dining area and could also be hidden away when company comes over.

I have a cat door I bought to install in the closet door, but I think I'm going to skip it. Jake & Jenny would probably feel safer not being trapped in a small place when they do their business. I'll just leave the door open until company comes over because it doesn't bother me and isn't in the way...

My new closet with room for a litter box in the bottom.

If I do ever end up installing the cat door, the barrier between the Litter-Robot and the coats slides forward and has a soft plastic edge that seals against the door when it's closed in case the cats unload a stinker before the Litter Robot cycles...

Door sweep seal.

It's also removable so I can clean more easily.

Even though I raised the hanger bar quite a lot, I still had room for a small shelf to store baskets for hats and gloves and stuff when I don't need them...

Secret shelf above my coats.

I'm happy with how everything turned out. And the build quality is so much better than what was there. I actually gave a crap about how things looked even though it's just a closet that nobody is going to spend time looking at.

On to the next project.

   

The Dogwood is Dogwooding Again

Posted on May 10th, 2024

Dave!There's a dogwood tree in my front yard. It's been here since I bought the place and I've tried my best to take good care of it. From what I can tell, it's thriving, because I've been careful to make sure it gets food and adequate water. Most of the time, however, it's not a great-looking tree. Better than nothing, but not what I would have picked to look at out my front window.

Except for one week in the Spring when it's in bloom...

Good-looking dude needs Botox BAD!

For that tiny window, it's a glorous sight to behold. Stunning, really.

Except it never lasts. One day it's in full-bloom, then a couple days later all the petals are falling off at a rapid clip and soon it will be back to its normal self. At least it will still have leaves for a while. Because after the leaves are gone as well, it's back to something bordering on depressing to look at.

I am choosing not to dwell on that, however, because yesterday the repairs on my home were completed... after six years! No more holes in walls and ceilings. And, as God is my witness, there will be no more furniture and other junk scattered around the house after this weekend. I don't care if it kills me, I'm moving everything back to where it belongs, and hanging all the pictures back up on the walls, and scrubbing all the construction dust from walls, floors, and furniture. I am done with my home looking like an episode of Hoarders gone wrong.

And then it's time to start work on the many projects I've got left to do now that I can actually do them.

Last weekend I rebuilt my coat closet so that I can have the Litter-Robot in the bottom while still hanging coats up above it with a protective barrier. I even managed to fit a small shelf above the closet rod, which was something I didn't know if I would be able to do. It ain't much, but it's enough space to put a basket of gloves, scarves, and other seasonal crap that need a place to go when I'm not using them. Not surprisingly, I did a far, far better job with my construction than the original builders did. I took the time to do it right, even though it's just a closet that nobody will look at. This wasn't easy because the door opening is askew and the walls are bowing in and out. It was like trying to build in a funhouse room of mirrors. But after warping board with a steamer, making sure all the screws were recessed and filled, and coming up with something that looked level despite that being impossible... I have something I'm very happy with.

Next weekend I'll start building the access panel covers and other stuff that's been a long time coming.

Who knows... by Winter I may just have a house that looks like a home.

   

NO CHUTE FOR YOU!

Posted on March 4th, 2024

Dave!Monday morning and I am not feeling fine. I'm old and everything hurts!

This weekend I was planning on starting a new project. A huge missed opportunity in my home is that there's no laundry chute down to the laundry room. So while I save up for drywall repairs, I'm going to cut a hole in the laundry room ceiling to see if there's any reason I can't cut a hole in the floor from above and build a chute. I'll then build a tube against the wall with a door on top (so the cats won't be taking rides to downstairs). After that I'll build a lower storage drawer next to it which will act as steps for the cats to get to the shelf I built on the stairwell...

Laundry Chute.

It would be so nice to be able to put dirty laundry and coat hangers and such down a chute than to have to haul loads downstairs.

Unfortunately, the walls ended up being askew... but opposite the way that it would have helped me. Which means that I will have to re-think things. I may have to switch to the opposite wall so I don't have to do additional cutting.

So instead of building a chute I decided to work on something else. It took all weekend, but I managed to clean up all the water damage, sand and repaint walls and furniture, fix and re-stain floorboards, install moisture sensors, and vacuum up all the mess...

My guest room closet nook all cleaned up but with a massive hole in the ceiling.

Now all that's left is to save up enough money to have all the drywall replaced that I didn't feel comfortable doing myself. Then... ugh... please can I not have any more house expenses for a year or so? Is that really too much to ask?

   

Caturday 345

Posted on March 2nd, 2024

Dave!My cats are hating me right now because I'm painting in the guest room and have the door closed so they can't get in. Never mind that they have the run of the entire rest of the house, of course the guest room is the only place they want to go!

Typical cats.

Today my Facebook memories came up with the news that I adopted my cats Eight Years Ago (back in February... so they're late) and these two photos popped up...

VAMPIRE CATS!!!!

My cat high-fiving Chris Hardwick

It's almost enough to make me want to get another kitten. Almost. Maybe this time I will get a kitten that's not a feral rescue and not terrified of absolutely everything. Except... those cats are easily adopted. I'm thrilled to have rescued a couple problem children. Jake and Jenny have been the absolute best cats.

And speaking of them... this week was kinda a Big Deal, cat-wise.

I got tired of having the Litter-Robot in the "Great Room" which has the kitchen flowing into the dining room flowing into the living room. It's not that it smells or anything (except temporarily, every once in a while when one of the cats has a particularly stinky poo to unleash) but I would really rather not have the cats doing their business next to where I'm watching television.

And so... when the electrician was here last week, I had him put an outlet in my hall closet. That way the cats have some privacy. Not that they seem to care about that, but it's sure nice for me...

Now I'll build a shelf above it with an air-seal so that I can still hang coats above the litterbox. Then I'll put a cat door in the closet door so I can close it off. Nice!

I was very, very worried about moving their pooping place. It's been the same since I got them eight years(!) ago. What I did was move the Litter-Robot about six inches every day until it was in its new place. They never batted an eye, and now they're going there automatically.

I don't know what I was expecting. But it certainly wasn't having things go this easily!

   

Hotdogs in the mornin’ Hotdogs in the evenin’ Hotdogs at suppertime

Posted on February 29th, 2024

Dave!This morning I was hungry enough to eat breakfast, but not hungry enough to cook the eggs, hash browns, and toast I wanted. So I microwaved a couple hotdogs and headed off to work. Yummeh.

When I got home I wasn't nearly as exhausted as I usually am, so I nuked two more hotdogs for dinner and decided to install my guest bathroom speaker into the ceiling behind where the access panel will go. My cats hid upstairs because I was screaming obscenities the whole time. But I did it...

...barely.

If I could have found a quality bracket I would have gladly paid for it, but instead the only one that would work for the position I needed was a $20 cheap piece of crap. The screws in particular are soft, cheap, and shitty that were stripped out with zero effort (like more screws you get with cheap crap). Plus the hinge mechanism is stupidly designed. And, as if that wasn't enough, the instructions left out a critical piece that I had to figure out on my own.

Hopefully it doesn't fall down and ruin my grossly overpriced Sonos speaker. Wouldn't shock me in the least.

Now what I really need is to celebrate this achievement with a couple of hot dogs for dessert. Considering people in my home can continue to party with music while using the bathroom is worth celebrating. Because one of those people is me!

   

My Relationship with My Toilet is Not Complicated

Posted on February 16th, 2024

Dave!I read a bullshit article where millionaire Barbara Corcoran was reinforcing the old adages "Money doesn't buy happiness" and "Money makes relationships complicated"... which is what people with money have been telling people without money since the dawn of time. Because that way they don't feel bad about not sharing their hoarded wealth to make other people's lives better.

Get fucked, Barbara.

I've lived with a toilet and glass shower doors sitting in my hallway for 6 months while I've saved up the money to have my bathroom put back together (after the first contractor did shitty work that caused a leak). I would be far, far happier if I could just throw money at my problems and have them solved instantly. My relationship with my toilet would not be more "complicated" because I have money...

Jenny looking at the toilet and glass doors in my hallway.

Holy shit do I detest deplorable assholes like this. You can enjoy your immense wealth and be happy about it while shutting the fuck up and not lying to people because you have an agenda to keep the working class under your thumb. NOBODY is buying it. Barbara even says that she "isn't giving the money back" so what the fuck is she even on about?

But anyway... first I had to pay to have the old shower demolished because that's where they said the leak was coming from...

My shower torn out.

Except... that wasn't where the leak was coming from. My tile guy figured that out when he decided to pull the toilet because he couldn't see where any leaks from the shower that got ripped out. Thousands upon thousands of dollars wasted FOR NOTHING. But at least my tile guy did a much better job of rebuilding my new shower than what I had before...

Remainder of the old shower ripped out.

New shower board and pan put in.

New tile going up.

Shower doors are installed.

Now that the glass doors were out of my hallway, I had to save the money for the ACTUAL leak under the toilet to be repaired...

Glass doors gone, toilet still there.

Which resulted in yet ANOTHER hole being put into my home so they could replace the pipe and flange going to the toilet...

Hole in my ceiling. Again.

Shockingly... despite the wood being continuously soaked and pools of water forming on the ducts (which left behind a lot of mineral scale) there's no mold to be found...

New pipe!

And now I have a toilet...

Toilet INSTALLED!

But I'm not done yet. Monday I have an electrical install. And then I need to have all the drywall repaired once I have the money saved. So that will be expensive fun. Because apparently home repairs NEVER END.

   

Home Kitchen Makeover

Posted on October 13th, 2023

Dave!It took four years... but my kitchen renovation is finally finished. Well, except for the floor, which I can't afford to replace just yet. But most of the remodel is done.

When I moved in, I was blessed with a kitchen that had dingy linoleum countertops and peachy-putty-grey-brown wood cabinets. It was so awful, and I hated it since day one. I am very particular about keeping a clean kitchen, and everything in this place was fighting me on it. How could I tell if something is dirty if it looks dirty all the time?

In addition to the cabinets being such an ugly color, they were these complex carved inlay design which had a literal ledge-on-a-ledge at the top to collect dirt. I was grossed out every time I cooked in my own kitchen, despite scrubbing it constantly.

Ugly old cabinet doors.
See that tiny corner bevel WITHIN the main bevel? Try getting that clean. You have to use a brush and it's always dirty.

And so I had it in my head that I would rip everything out and remodel it.

Then I looked at all the money I didn't have and decided to wait. Which was really tough to do because I hated this kitchen so very, very much.

Finally, in 2019, three years after I moved in... I couldn't take it any more. I ripped those ugly-ass cabinet doors off and decided I would make my own cabinet doors and drawers then paint it all myself. It may take a while... because I'd have to save the money after each step... but I would have the kitchen I always wanted eventually: cement countertops, white subway tile walls, and white shaker-style cabinets.

But then the pandemic hit, and everything stopped until Fall 2020.

First I painted the cabinet frames (August 27, 2020).

The countertops were installed (August 28, 2020).

A new sink was next (September 1, 2020).

I ran out of money for a year (then had issues hiring somebody because of COVID) but finally got my tile walls (November 4, 2022).

Had my cabinet frames professionally repainted (October 19, 2022).

Painting in Progress.

Ordered my cabinet doors and drawers in late 2022. Then waited months for measurements to be taken. Then waited months for the pieces to arrive so I could select paint. Then waited more months to get them installed after several delays (July 19, 2023). Except the glass for the cabinets I wanted to have windows didn't arrive, one of the doors was the wrong size, and one of the doors was built wrong. But, hey, things were looking nearly finished. Here's a before and after...

No cabinet drawers.

With cabinet drawers.

Then yesterday I finally got the last of my cabinet doors installed... with glass (October 13, 2023)...

With cabinet glass.

Ironically I had glass put in the doors with the dishes and glasses so that when I had guests over they could find stuff without openeing every door in the kitchen. But then COVID happened and I stopped having guests. Oh well. At least I won't be forgetting where they are.

Along the way, I also got the cheap-ass drawer glides replaced with glides that are heavy-duty enough to actually support some weight, and they pull out all the way so I can get to things in the back. It's glorious...

With cabinet glass.

So, yeah. A long time coming. But I have my frickin' kitchen back at last.

AFTER FOUR YEARS.

The first two of which I was living out of boxes on the countertops because I had ripped everything out in anticipation of having work done that never happened.

I don't know if it was worth the wait. But at least I finally have the kitchen I wanted all along.

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I Am In The Money Pit, Part Four

Posted on August 8th, 2023

Dave!Way back in early 2019, I hired a guy to re-landscape my yard. He came and took a look that Spring, then came up with a cost. I told him I didn't have that kind of money, but said I should have it saved up by the end of the year so we could start in the Spring of 2020.

Y'all know what happened in the Spring of 2020.

First my landscaping was postponed because of quarantine. Then it was postponed because my landscaper got COVID really bad and was hospitalized. Then it was postponed twice so he could recover. Then it was postponed permanently when he ended up having "Long COVID" and could no longer work. The poor guy ended up having to move out of the state so he could live with family that could take care of him.

I hired another contractor who ghosted me. Then another contractor who quoted the project without all the things I had asked for, then ghosted me when I asked why. I finally found a fourth contractor back in April who said he could fit me into his schedule late Summer.

AND TODAY WAS THE START DAY!

They're ripping out all the spider-infected shrubs that were never maintained and grew far too big. They ended up growing up against my house to create a spider super-highway and could no longer be re-shaped or trimmed. Unfortunately, they had to go...

Removing the shrubs!

Removing the shrubs!

I didn't feel bad about it until I drove home to get a sandwich and ended up following the truck that had the carcases of my poor spider-house shrubs in the back. SORRY, GUYS...

Removing the shrubs!

And now they can start rebuilding my yard with new plants that are easier to maintain, require less water, and won't explode to become spider-laden death-traps. That'll be nice.

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I Am In The Money Pit, Part Three

Posted on July 25th, 2023

Dave!It's absolutely fascinating how easy it is to drop astounding amounts of money on things that you're already spent money on.

As an example... the paint sample from the new company mixing the paint for my new kitchen doors and drawers arrived and it's a bit less warm. My choices were to A) Ask them to try again and wait another week... B) Wait until the original paint company gets the parts for their machine at the end of August... or C) Repaint my cupboard frames the slightly cooler color. I decided on Option C because I didn't want to wait any longer, and it was more in the direction of my tile color anyway.

$80.00 blown in the blink of an eye so I can pay for new paint...

Repainting my kitchen.

The end result looks good, so now I wait for the new paint to arrive sometime this week... wait for the pieces to be painted... then wait for the installers to fit me into their schedule.

After that?

Should be my front yard landscaping.

Followed by the re-do of the upstairs bathroom which had to be torn out.

Talk about spending money on something I've already spent money on. That's going to be a doozy ON TOP OF the money I paid to my shitty fucking contractor who fucked it up in the first place.

I seriously should have bought a tent and lived out in the woods or something.

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I Am In The Money Pit, Part Two

Posted on July 17th, 2023

Dave!=sigh=

The last thing I'm going to do is complain about being a homeowner. First of all, I feel grateful that I even have a home. Second of all, the cost to rent an apartment in my parts is even higher than my mortgage payment. Like a lot higher.

But holy shit have I had my share of costs when it comes to my seven-year-old home purchase (A list of the absurd amount of repairs is here).

When I bought the place, I had a hugely expensive renovation to make it safer for my mother to inhabit with her dementia. From there it's been a non-stop parade of problems. The worst of which is my shitty upstairs shower leaking downstairs. And it ain't no old shower... it was installed just six years ago and was likely leaking since Day One (but I only found out about it four years ago as it worsened). I spent thousands of dollars just to get it diagnosed, and even then they're not 100% sure that it was a leak from the drain plumbing which is what they suspected. Which means they ended up having to rip it all out so I can start over...

My upstairs bathroom demolition.

The demo guys noted that the shower pan was made of something spongey... the likes of which they have never seen. So fuck my old contractor for that. And fuck my old plumber for doing a shitty job that's been leaking. And of course insurance is denying my claim, because they don't cover "slow leaks," only a "sudden catastrophic leak," which fucking sucks.

This time I'm not dicking around. I'm going to find a metal shower pan myself and hire the expensive plumbers I use for everything because they aren't incompetent.

This popped up in my social media this morning, and I felt it to my core...

So apparently 50% of homeowning is hearing strange noises and hoping they are made by ghosts because I can't afford to fix them.

This is very quickly becoming me. I don't dare ponder what could go wrong next, despite my already having fixed or redone the whole place by now. I think the best I can hope for is that I at least get to complete what's currently fucked before the next thing goes wrong.

   

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